Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: September 2009

1 - An overview: options for global trade reform – a view from the Asia-Pacific


Introduction: the setting and major themes

Prior to the successful Doha Ministerial in November 2001, the Asia-Pacific had played host to three of the most influential meetings on international trade and investment cooperation in the 1990s – the APEC Leaders' meeting in Bogor in 1994; the Singapore Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1996; and the WTO Ministerial meeting at Seattle in November 1999. The first of these, the APEC Leaders' meeting at Bogor in 1994, set the extremely ambitious goal of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2020. The second, the initial Ministerial meeting of the new WTO, built on the ambitions of the Uruguay Round and added investment and competition policy, trade facilitation, and transparency in government procurement to the agenda. The third of these meetings, proved to be important in an entirely different way, and was unable to adopt even an agenda for further discussions. Only after a long period of hard work and preparation could agreement on a Doha Development Agenda be reached in November 2001 (WTO 2001a).

The failure of the Seattle Ministerial involved a number of elements, the most important of which related to poor preparation, the breadth of the agenda, and the approaches to be adopted in particular areas (Schott 2000). Inside the meeting, a key source of discord and dismay was the traditional divide on agriculture, between the group of industrial countries that protect their agricultural sectors, and the agricultural exporters – both developed and developing.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (2001), “Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Declaration”, Shanghai, Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation, 21 October 2001 /econlead/china.html
Elbehri, A., Ingco, M., Hertel, T., and Pearson, K. (2003), “Developing countries, agriculture and the World Trade Organization”, in Ingco, M. and Winters, L. (eds.), forthcoming
Finger, J. M. and Schuler, P. (2001), “Implementation of Uruguay Round Commitments: The Development Challenge”, in Hoekman, B. and Martin, W., Developing Countries and the World Trade Organization: A Pro-Active Agenda, Oxford: Blackwell: 115–130
Fink, C., Mattoo, A., and Neagu, C. (2001), “Trade in international maritime services: how much does policy matter?”, Policy Research Working Paper 2522 Washington DC: World Bank
Fukase, E. and Martin, W. (2001), Free Trade Area Membership as a Stepping Stone to Development: The Case of Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Discussion Paper 421, Washington, DC: World Bank
Hoekman, B. (2002), “Strengthening the global trade architecture for development”, Policy Research Working Paper 2757, Washington, DC: World Bank
Hoekman, B. and Kostecki, M. (2001), The Political Economy of the World Trading System, 2nd edn., Oxford: Oxford University Press
Hoekman, B. and Martin, W. (2001), Developing Countries and the World Trade Organization: A Pro-Active Agenda, Oxford: Blackwell
Ianchovichina, E., andMartin, W., (2001), “Trade liberalization in China's accession to World Trade Organization”, Journal of Economic Integration 16 (4): 421–445
Irwin, D. (1992), “Multilateral and bilateral trade policies in the world trading system: an historical perspective”, in de Melo, J. and Panagariya, A. (eds.), New Dimensions in Regional Integration, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Martin, W., and Ianchovichina, E., (2001), “Implications of China's accession to the World Trade Organisation for China and the World Trade Organization”, World Economy 24 (9): 1205–1219
Ruggiero, R. (2000), “Reflections from Seattle”, in Schott, J. (ed.), The World Trade Organization After Seattle, Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics
Schott, J. (ed.) (2000), The World Trade Organization After Seattle, Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics
Scollay, R. and Gilbert, J. (2001), New Regional Trade Arrangements in the Asia Pacific?, Policy Analyses in International Economics, Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics
Wang, Zhen Kun and Winters, L. A. (2000), “Putting ‘Humpty’ together again: including developing countries in a pro-World Trade Organization consensus”, CEPR Policy Paper 4, London: Centre for Economic Policy Research
Wilson, J., Mann, C., Woo, Y., Assanie, N. and Choi, I. (2002), Trade Facilitation: A Development Perspective, Singapore: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat
World Bank (2000), Trade Blocs, Washington, DC: Oxford University Press for the World Bank
World Bank (2001), Globalization, Growth and Poverty: Building an Inclusive World Economy, World Bank Policy Research Report, Washington, DC and Oxford: World Bank and Oxford University Press
World Trade Organization (2001a), “Ministerial declaration adopted on November 14, 2001”, Geneva: World Trade Organization, WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1
World Trade Organization (2001b), “Implementation-related issues and concerns”, Geneva: World Trade Organization, WT/MIN(01)/17