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Contexto Internacional

Print version ISSN 0102-8529


SOUZA, Igor Abdalla Medina de. [Article Retraction] The Uruguay Round and Africa: A Critique of the Liberal Approach to the Trade Regime. Contexto int. [online]. 2014, vol.36, n.2, pp.385-416. ISSN 0102-8529.

From the time IR scholars focused on the GATT 1947 to converge around the concept of regimes in the 1980s, normative settings have been viewed as Pareto-improving devices. This article presents the estimates of absolute losses to Africa in order to investigate the Uruguay Round from the standpoint of institutional power. After having solved wide grievances in agriculture, the United States and the European Communities used their market power to shift the forum in charge of intellectual property and impose on weaker countries the choice between accepting the new organization and bearing the costs of exclusion. A bandwagon dynamic increased the costs of exclusion, leading African countries, which lose in terms of GDP, real income, exports and economic welfare, to accept the new trade regime. Accession to the WTO was thus the choice for the lesser evil. The liberal positive-sum view on institutions blinds IR scholars to the reality that institutions are frequently presented as offers poor countries cannot refuse. The asymmetries of the WTO Agreement would be remediated at the present Doha Round by agreements towards wide agricultural liberalization, a comprehensive reform of TRIPS and the provision of support for least developed countries to bear adjustment and implementation costs, as well as participate effectively at negotiations and the dispute settlement system.

Keywords : Liberal Internationalism; Trade Regime; World Trade Organization; Uruguay Round; Institutional Power; Africa.

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