The north-south cleavage in the World Trade Organization: an analysis of selected issues

  • Oldřich Krpec
Keywords: Liberalization of world trade, cleavages, World Trade Organization, lines of dispute, developed countries


The project of world trade liberalization undertaken by the WTO is subject to heavy criticism from many different international actors. This paper suggests a way to analyze a problem of many widely differing subjects opposing a complex, ambitious and far-reaching project. First the conflict over the trade liberalization project is introduced, the most relevant subjects of international politics identified and selected subjects' most relevant interests and goals are discussed. The analysis then focuses on the common belief that the main divide over the trade liberalization project lies between WTO officials, developed countries, their pressure groups and multinational corporations on one side, and nongovernmental organizations and developing countries' representatives on the other. This hypothesis is tested according to definitions of stakeholders' interests, and a subsequent prediction of likely coalitions on each key issue. Finally, an alternative division is suggested.

Author Biography

Oldřich Krpec