Trade liberalisation and economic development in the developing countries

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Global policies under the WTO are based on what are claimed as universal advantages of open economies and trade liberalisation. This chapter shows this regime is in fact heavily biased towards the demands of rich and powerful countries and against the needs of developing countries. Furthermore, this regime undermines elected legislatures and their democratic decision-making processes through constraints imposed by neoliberal treaties and associated mechanisms for the settlement of international disputes. The chapter further examines the theoretical and empirical basis of trade liberalisation and argues that the claimed benefits of free trade are based on weak grounds. An analysis of free trade in historical perspective highlights its negative implications for future development and suggests that the prosperity of the developing countries could be more dependent on their ability to act in concert to challenge the unbalanced rules-based system of the Western neoliberal order than on their willingness to submit to the strictures of the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organisation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Companion to Development Studies
EditorsEmil Dauncey, Vandana Desai, Robert B. Potter
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780429282348
ISBN (Print)9780367244231, 9780367244248
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2024

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