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Economic development is the most important agenda in the international trading system today, as demonstrated by the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) adopted in the current multilateral trade negotiations of the World Trade Organization (the Doha Round). This book provides a relevant discussion of major international trade law issues from the perspective of development in the following areas: general issues on international trade law and economic development; and specific law and development issues in World Trade Organization, Free Trade Agreement and regional initiatives. This book offers an unparalleled breadth of coverage on the topic and diversity of authorship, as seventeen leading scholars contribute chapters from nine major developed and developing countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan, China (including Hong Kong), South Korea, Australia, Singapore and Israel.
The concept of this book was born when a group of scholars from developing countries decided to publish a book on international trade law and economic development, subsequently titled Economic Development through World Trade: A Developing Country Perspective (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2008). As that book offered, probably for the first time, thirteen chapters of developing-country accounts and perspectives on international trade law, I thought that another book, written on international trade law from a developed-country perspective, would provide a necessary complement to the exercise. A couple of chapters overlap between the two books, but fourteen of the seventeen authors of this book are indeed academics and professionals from developed countries and offer developed-country perspectives.
There is no doubt that economic and social development has become one of the most important agenda items for the global trading system. The importance of development has been well demonstrated by the adoption of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) in the current round of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO), the “Doha Round.” The progress of the round has been interrupted and delayed on several occasions because of the considerable gap between developed- and developing-country members’ positions on trade and development issues. A key issue of the debate is whether the current regulatory framework for international trade, as represented by the legal disciplines of the WTO, serves the development and trade interests of less developed economies.