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Professor John Odell examines the Paris Agreement from a negotiation theory perspective. Focusing on the question of why the agreement was finally reached in 2015, Odell identifies four major explanations. First, as the scientific consensus in support of human-driven climate change strengthened, parties learned that alternatives to the carbon economy were both necessary and feasible. Second, non- and sub-state actors mobilized in greater numbers and with greater force than before, offsetting resistance at the domestic level. Third, between 2011 and 2013, parties coalesced around a less demanding negotiation objective, making it easier for states to join in support. Fourth, adroit conference leadership, in particular by the French Presidency, reduced mistrust and contributed to avoiding deadlocks that had scuttled earlier negotiations. Odell concludes that the four primary reasons are probably best understood as necessary conditions – in other words, in the absence of any of these factors, the substantive shift in policy that the Paris Agreement represents would have been delayed or not happened at all.
If WTO Members wish to launch a new round to follow Doha, setting the agenda will require a complex negotiation as in the past, however Doha ends. To reduce the serious information problems they face and prepare the way, advocates should commission an independent research team to produce a comprehensive negotiation analysis before they decide to move further. Reaching an agreement on an agenda will depend on the procedural rules that apply in the agenda negotiation and the subsequent Round. They should consider four rules that seem legitimate today and most likely to help Members find a joint-gain agenda. Reaching an agenda agreement could also depend in part on decisions by WTO chairs during this negotiation. Experience illustrates the potentials and possible pitfalls for them to avoid.
Developing country delegates in multilateral trade negotiations have become quite active in forming bargaining coalitions. But there has been little research concerning how this has been done, what the results have been, or what influences these results. In tackling these questions, this chapter identifies strategy choices made by weak-state coalitions as possible influences on their outcomes, the outcome being the primary dependent variable.
Our method is to learn more about the multilateral negotiation process through a single case study and attempt to generate a potential generalization for further investigation in other cases. The Like Minded Group of countries (LMG) in the World Trade Organization illustrated what we call the strict distributive strategy in WTO negotiations from 1998 through the November 2001 ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar. This coalition put forward a number of detailed proposals that would have shifted value from North to South and denied any negotiating gain to the North until the North had first granted the group's demands. Despite a great deal of organized professional effort in Geneva, however, the group had by the time of the Doha conference, as we read the record, sustained a major loss and collected relatively small gains especially on their leading issue compared with the status quo. The LMG did play a leading role in delaying what they regarded as another serious loss. But this coalition gained less at Doha than others such as the coalition concerned with TRIPS and public health, which used the mixed-distributive strategy, as shown chaper 3.
Negotiations between governments shape the world political economy and in turn the lives of people everywhere. Developing countries have become far more influential in talks in the World Trade Organization, including infamous stalemates in Seattle in 1999 and Cancún in 2003, as well as bilateral and regional talks like those that created NAFTA. Yet social science does not understand well enough the process of negotiation, and least of all the roles of developing countries, in these situations. This 2006 book sheds light on three aspects of this otherwise opaque process: the strategies developing countries use; coalition formation; and how they learn and influence other participants' beliefs. This book will be valuable for many readers interested in negotiation, international political economy, trade, development, global governance, or international law. Developing country negotiators and those who train them will find practical insights on how to avoid pitfalls and negotiate better.
In November 2001 the World Trade Organization's ministerial conference in Doha adopted a Declaration on the WTO Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Public Health. The process that led to this declaration is one of the most interesting episodes in recent international economic negotiations. A coalition lacking obvious power achieved significant, unexpected gains despite careful opposition from powerful transnational corporate firms and their home governments. This chapter seeks to explain this puzzling outcome and considers whether it suggests any generalizations that are likely to be useful in other cases.
Like all negotiation outcomes, this one has two dimensions: whether agreement was reached and the agreement's terms. Given the chasm between the two camps' perspectives, this agreement itself is surprising. Given the great power disparities, the gains of the developing countries are also surprising. These gains are defined relative to the status quo prior to the 2001 talks. The 1994 TRIPS agreement, whose origin is discussed in chapter 2 on the Uruguay Round, established obligations of WTO member states to comply with certain international rules protecting the rights of owners of patents and copyrights. Many national laws allow the government to violate patent rights under some conditions. Thus TRIPS too permitted countries to seize patents and issue compulsory licenses, for example authorizing a domestic firm to produce and sell generic equivalents of a brand name drug without permission from the foreign inventor. Such licenses were subject to specified conditions including adequate remuneration to the right holder.
Negotiating international trade agreements has become a full-time job for developing countries. They negotiate often in pairs, in regional groups, and as members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), where they make up the majority of members. The WTO in particular is one of the premier sites where globalization will be either managed or mismanaged. Some official talks aim for deals that shape international rules and state policies. Other talks seek settlements for legal disputes arising in the shadow of those rules. Ultimately all this bargaining helps determine who receives the gains and bears the burdens of trade, with powerful consequences for local communities across the globe.
Less developed countries have become dramatically more active in trade negotiations in recent years, as their policies and societies have become more dependent on trade. Even the smallest traders are better organized and prepared than in the past. They were prominent players in WTO ministerial conferences in Seattle in 1999, Doha in 2001, and Cancún in 2003. The results – for the entire world – depend more than ever on how developing countries negotiate.
Yet social science still does not understand the process of trade negotiation – as distinct from the institutions, laws, and economics of the issues – well enough. In particular, negotiation process research has underrepresented the experience and needs of developing countries, where the large majority of the world's people live. Empirically grounded research on their negotiations is still in its infancy.
Cabinet ministers of the World Trade Organization (WTO)'s 135 member states gathered in Seattle on November 30, 1999. Earlier, members accounting for a large majority of world trade had said that their purpose in Seattle was to launch a new multilateral round, one that would extend the sequence of eight large-scale negotiations that had liberalized trade and elaborated international rules since the Second World War.
As everyone knows, American critics used the occasion to organize a large campaign to protest globalization and the WTO and to attack its core norm of trade liberalization. They and allies from other countries circulated pamphlets painting the WTO as an unaccountable tool of greedy corporations and blaming it for world social and environmental problems. On the first day union members, environmentalists, consumer advocates, and students marching in three columns converged on downtown Seattle chanting “No new round, turnaround.” Police allowed protestors to penetrate the space between the convention center and the hotels and block the ministers from entering the hall for a day. In the chaos the Colombian minister was knocked to the ground. Privately one of his officials groused that if the same had happened to an American cabinet secretary in Bogotá, the State Department would have declared a travel advisory on Colombia for six months. The minister from Estonia sputtered as he walked away, “I'm a socialist!… You people are nuts.”