Jorge B. Riaboi


I will start this Essay by saying that it is fundamentally misleading to assume that the disagreement over the shape and content of the agenda for the World Trade Organization's (“WTO”) negotiations that broke-up the Seattle's Conference is either the only or the real stumbling block to maintain the pace of trade liberalization. It also is misleading to assume that the present business as usual look that has prevailed since February 2000 in Geneva, means that the substantive problems are over and that everything is just fine. In my view, we face other kinds of conflicts. The first is the strong competitive reforms that should be implemented in an important number of Members of the System. The second is the existing political obstacles to putting together an acceptable comprehensive agenda of negotiations. The third is the lack of political will to rethink the present state of play to overcome these fundamental problems without weakening or neglecting WTO's genuine role.