Role Model or Institutional Spoiler?: India’s Schizophrenic Relationship with the WTO

Sangeeta Khorana, William Kerr, Homagni Choudhury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years India has been touted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a country to emulate in terms of its progress in
trade liberalization. India has been an active member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and subsequently the WTO since its inception in the late-1940s. In the early years it was one of the few developing countries able to be fully engaged in the organization’s negotiations and activities. Latterly, India has been one of the leaders of the G-20 group of developing countries and has been instrumental in crafting the Doha Development Round agenda and pushing development issues in the negotiations. In the 2011 WTO Trade Policy Review of India, it was praised for its progress in trade liberalization and commitment to WTO principles. Since then, India has acted as a spoiler for progress in the Doha Development Round by at first refusing to compromise in the negotiations surrounding the Bali Agreement of 2013. India eventually accepted a compromise over the contentious issue of
agricultural subsidies that allowed agreement in Bali. The Bali Agreement was much touted by the WTO and represented the first major progress in the Doha Development Round since its inception in 2001. In 2014 India subsequently reneged on the compromise on agricultural subsidies at Bali and, in effect, nullified the Bali Agreement. This may have effectively eliminated any potential to complete the Doha Development Round, albeit in a piecemeal fashion, and considerably damaged the WTO as an effective institution. This paper examines both the 2011 Trade Policy Review and India’s strategy pertaining to the Bali Agreement to provide insights into India’s complex relationship with the WTO.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-268
JournalCurrent Politics and Economics of South, Southeastern, and Central Asia
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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