Amrita Narlikar

How not to negotiate: the case of trade multilateralism

International Affairs | 2022

  • Abstract

    Trade multilateralism would not have featured as a case of ‘abject failure’ had this special issue been planned in 2001. But since then, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has unfortunately become an almost perfect example of how not to negotiate, even when one takes into account the limited successes of the 12th ministerial conference in June 2022. This article proceeds in four steps. The first section outlines the multiple levels of malfunction and breakdown in the organization. The second part argues that a variety of negotiation failures are responsible for the dire straits in which the WTO finds itself today. I identify three broad categories of bargaining failures in this member-driven organization: negotiation mishaps that have led to the Doha deadlocks; negotiation muddles that members have got themselves into while updating the institutional practices of the WTO; and failures on the part of the membership to find negotiated solutions to new systemic challenges. The third section reflects on the interaction of my own research with the world of policy. The fourth and concluding section presents the main ‘Dos’ and ‘Don'ts’ that follow from the analysis, and offers some further policy recommendations.


    International Affairs







    Consultant | 15/12/2022

    Rethinking Multilateralism and Global Governance Session 2: Understanding the Diverse Voices of the Global South

    Global Solutions Initiative Berlin: 15/12/2022

    GIGA President Prof. Amrita Narlikar, as a member of the expert group, shared her perspective on how to integrate the heterogeneous voices of the Global South into the multilateralist stage.

    Organiser, Organiser | 28/11/2022 - 30/11/2022

    Liberal Script(s) — Asian Versions and Contestations of a Concept

    Cooperation Event The Lalit, Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place, New Delhi and online: 28/11/2022 - 30/11/2022 Organisers: SCRIPTS Cluster of Excellence "Contestations of the Liberal Script", German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Jawaharlal Nehru University

    Under the lead of GIGA President Prof. Amrita Narlikar and Prof. Michael Zürn, the SCRIPTS Conference addressed the broad theme of Asian scripts (liberal or not) and asked how Asian states organise themselves and ally/partner with each other based on these scripts’ political/ economic features.

    Prof. Dr. Michael Zürn

    Chapter in Edited Volume | 11/2022

    Trade Governance: the Politics of Prosperity, Development and Weaponization

    This chapter analyzes the origins, evolution, and crisis of trade governance. Among others, Prof. Narlikar discusses difficulties and bargains of the multilateral order, and also provides directions of reform. She evaluates the GATT and WTO, weaponized interdependence, and the role of the Global South.


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