By the year 2000, world trade in merchandise goods and commercial services will probably exceed $8 trillion, or $2 trillion more than in 1995. By that date, the World Trade Organization (WTO) may well have more than 130 member countries that account for about 95 percent of world trade. The millennium also will mark an important milestone for the WTO: new WTO negotiations on agriculture and services will be under way with the goal of achieving the progressive liberalization of remaining barriers to trade.
This monograph explores how WTO members should prepare for these negotiations. It discusses the Singapore ministerial meeting and its importance in starting WTO deliberations, examines how the agenda of such talks should be crafted to meet these challenges to the trading system, proposes initiatives to achieve further trade reforms and to extend WTO obligations to other trade-related aspects of government policy, and explores whether such new initiatives are feasible—that is, whether there is sufficient political support for new trade reforms in the major trading nations. The text concludes with some recommendations on how the new WTO initiative could be launched and implemented over the next five years.