Dancing with Brazil, South Africa, India and China: Large Developing Countries and Bilateralism

by Jean-Frédéric Morin

, by IDDRI

The proliferation of bilateral agreements is a new and fascinating trend in the world trading
system. The number of bilateral agreements has been steadily increasing since the creation of
the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 and the slow progress of the current Doha
Round seems to have accelerated this tendency. Today, more than 130 bilateral agreements
have been notified to the WTO and approximately 70 are under negotiation. To its square
dance repertoire of multilateralism and regionalism, the world trading system is progressively
adding the more complex and subtle couple dance of bilateralism.