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

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Myth of Multilateralism

Myth of Multilateralism THE recent (and predictable) failure of the Uruguay Round of the GATT talks provides striking evidence of the decline of multilateralism in world trade. Like all the periods of emphasis on bilateral deals and trading blocs in the history of the international economy, this phase too comes during a period of decline in the growth rate of world trade. The insecurities created by such a deceleration have generated protectionist pressures and the 'crowbar approach' among the more important trading nations. Indeed, the failure and adjournment of the current round of talks only seals what had become a de facto reality: for the major trading countries, the arena of international trade is already one of fairly bitter competition where the gentlemanly rules of the multilateral game with associated Most Favoured Nation clauses, are largely irrelevant. For some time now, the more powerful industrial countries have been operating on a bilateral basis, joining together only for the purposes of browbeating developing countries with respect to intellectual property rights and trade in services.

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