ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Understanding the WTO Regime

WTO in the New Millennium: Commentary, Case Law and Legal Text edited by Arun Goyal; Academy of Business Studies, New Delhi, and World Trade Centre, Mumbai, January 2000; pp 881, Rs 580.

Reviewing a book of this size and dimension is not an easy task. The book under review, edited by Arun Goyal, is an attempt to provide the reader with a broad understanding of legal texts of the Uruguay Round negotiations along with explanatory commentary and case law dealing with various topics under WTO. The distinguishing feature of the presentation of this book lies in its commentary and case law. The commentary gives an insight into the legal text while the case law sheds light on the practical experience of various disputes and other developments. Particular emphasis has been laid on analysing and understanding the impact of the WTO agreements on subjects such as anti-dumping, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, technical barriers, and agriculture in developing countries. The book also provides a detailed first person report on the Seattle fiasco along with the Draft Seattle Ministerial Declaration as on December 3, 1999 along with the unresolved issues.

The Uruguay Round (UR) Agreement, the eighth and the most ambitious round of multilateral trade negotiations, was formally concluded on April 15, 1994. As per the Final Act of the UR Agreement, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established on January 1, 1995. The WTO builds upon the organisational structure that existed under GATT auspices as of the early 1990s. The basic underlying philosophy of the WTO is that open markets, non-discrimination, and global competition in international trade are conducive to the national welfare of all the participating countries. Agriculture and textiles and clothing have been brought within the GATT fold. The system of multilateral rules was extended to include intellectual property rights and services. While certain agreements, like TRIPS, may involve some short-run costs for the developing countries, these are likely to be more than offset by the benevolent effects of inclusion of agriculture and textiles and clothing under the GATT umbrella. Further, the WTO embodies a much stronger enforcement/dispute settlement mechanism than what existed under GATT.

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