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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article evaluates the integration of developing countries in the World Trade Organization (WTO) legal regime. It aims to complement the economic analysis with a legal assessment of the rules that have attempted to accommodate the special position of developing countries in world trade. It provides a historical overview of the GATT 1947 and WTO rules. The next section reviews developing-country participation in WTO dispute settlement, observing the lack of engagement by the vast majority of developing countries. It outlines the four constraints commonly identified as explaining that lack of participation. The next section is on fifth factor that has yet to receive much attention, namely, that a high proportion of developing-country trade falls under preferential rules that are not enforceable in WTO dispute settlement proceedings. This article intended to raise an awareness of the opportunity costs of those rules as a matter of enforceable WTO law.

Keywords: economic analysis, world trade, legal assessment, developing-country, constraints

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