Nnamdi Azikiwe University Journal of International Law and Jurisprudence

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World Trade Organisation (WTO): Trade rules/agreements and developing countries

Emeka Adibe


The GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs) rules of 1947 were seen as prejudicial to the economic and development concerns of developing countries. With the coming into effect of World Trade Organization (WTO), it was expected that some of the concerns of the developing countries will be addressed. Notwithstanding the tremendous improvement made by WTO, there remained many areas of the current rules of WTO that reinforce the disadvantages faced by developing economies. This essay deals with these unfair trade rules and disadvantages inherent in the World Trade Organization (WTO) system by critically examining some important agreements that affect developing economies, specifically the Trade-Related Intellectual Property (TRIPs), Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Barriers to Trade (SPS & TBT). This essay argues that WTO rules have locked most developing countries into an unfair and unbalanced trade system leaving them little space to introduce policies that advance their economy, a situation which not only perpetuates poverty but also hampers development and runs contrary to the objective for which WTO was born and set up.

Keywords: Development, Developing Countries Liberalisations, World Trade Organisation- WTO, Trade Agreements

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