8 - Priorities for small States in global trade governance  pp. 204-230

Priorities for small States in global trade governance

By Edwin Laurent

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To make their participation in the multilateral trading system more effective and beneficial, small States are becoming increasingly vocal in their advocacy of their special interests as ‘small countries’. These efforts are attracting growing international attention. The extent to which one can make a compelling claim that systems for global trade governance should address the needs of small States, depends on whether one can establish the specificity of their interests. If the economic circumstances and needs of small States in the trading system were similar to those of other developing countries, they could simply rely on larger and more influential States to help advocate on their behalf. However, the ‘smallness’ of small States gives them unique characteristics, which in turn means that their trade interests are distinct from other countries. This chapter argues that to achieve the goals that they alone have a vested interest in securing in the multilateral trading system, small States themselves will have to secure the relevant changes, decisions and concessions.

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