Social Scientist. v 20, no. 224-25 (Jan-Feb 1992) p. 108.

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The Dunkel Text^ An Assessment


The Director General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Mr. Arthur Dunkel, has presented the Draft of the Final Act on the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. This document represents the outcome of a process of negotiations that began more than five years ago, following the Ministerial Declaration on the Uruguay Round at Punta Del Este in September 1986. Thus, the Dunkel text is neither an intellectual construct nor received wisdom. It reflects the bargaining strengths or weaknesses of groups of countries at different levels of development and the dynamics of the negotiations over time. This has been tempered, to a limited extent, by the multi-polar nature of the contemporary world economy, in particular the conflict on agriculture between the United States and the European Community.

It is essential for us, in India, to make a careful assessment of the document, which has far reaching implications and consequences for developing countries, in terms of our national interests. The object of my presentation on this subject is to highlight the strategic issues rather than to provide a systematic, let alone complete, discussion of the complex problems. To begin with, I shall situate the Dunkel text in the wider context of the political economy of the Uruguay Round. Then, I shall^rovide an assessment of the outcome embodied in the Dunkel text, with reference to our expectations. Thereafter, I shall elaborate on a few selected issues where the proposals in the Dunkel text are a cause for serious concern. In conclusion, I shall attempt to make some suggestions in terms of the options available to us at this juncture.

Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. This is a revised text of the author's oral presentation to the Group of Ministers on 23 January 1992.

Social Scientist, Vol. 20, Nos. 1-2, January-February 1992

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