The Least Developed Countries, the World Trade Organisation and the Norm of Special Treatment

Hawthorne, Helen (2011). The Least Developed Countries, the World Trade Organisation and the Norm of Special Treatment. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)

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Abstract

This thesis examines the special treatment of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The categorisation of the LDCs by the United Nations in 1971 not only created a new classification of counties, but also created an international norm of special treatment for these countries. The norm of special treatment for LDCs has, since then, slowly spread throughout the international system and has been institutionalised in many international organisations, including the WTO. Evidence of the institutionalisation of the norm within the WTO can be found in its founding documents and agreements, as well as in the Doha Development Agenda. This institutionalisation of the norm has meant that LDCs have been provided with special treatment in the trade regime, which is not provided to other categories of member.

This thesis will trace the development and institutionalisation of the international norm of special treatment for LDCs and will focus specifically on its institutionalisation within the GATT/WTO. The thesis uses the concept of the norm lifecycle to demonstrate how the norm of special treatment for LDCs has grown in strength over time and become institutionalised, but has yet to be fully internalised. Through the use of case studies looking at accession, market access and cotton, it argues that the recent agency of the LDCs means that they can be seen as norm entrepreneurs helping to further the norm of special treatment by their appeals to it.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: City University London PhD theses
School of Social Sciences > Department of International Politics
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/1120

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