This CD-ROM contains a complete set of articles published in the SUNS (Special United Nations Service, later renamed South-North Development Monitor) on the Uruguay Round multilateral trade negotiations (MTNs) under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), both prior to the launching of negotiations and during the negotiations that led to the establishment of the World Trade Organisation in 1995 and the Agreements annexed to the WTO, as well as negotiations and developments in the WTO from 1995 to 1999.
The news articles and analysis from a Southern perspective were written by Chakravarthi Raghavan, the Chief Editor of the SUNS.
The CD-ROM also contains some of the articles by Raghavan published elsewhere, and the book 'Recolonization: GATT, Uruguay Round and the Third World' (1990), authored by him and published by the Third World Network, Penang and Zed Books UK), as well as the legal texts of the Uruguay Round Agreements.
The Third World Network and NGONET (a project of the Instituto del Tercer Mundo) are producing this CD-ROM in the belief that the articles in the SUNS provide a valuable resource as a historical record of the Uruguay Round negotiations and of the developments during the first years of the World Trade Organization. While the formal proposals in various areas of negotiations have been published, these do not provide a clear picture. There is a dearth of material on the negotiations during the Uruguay Round, partly because the negotiations were held mostly out of the public eye; also, many of the important discussions were held not in formal meetings but in "informal meetings" and thus there are no formal records; and not many journalists or scholars or analysts followed the whole of the negotiations from the pre-launch stage (1982 GATT Ministerial), through the twists and turns of the launching of the negotiations at Punta del Este (1986) and the long-drawn Uruguay Round negotiations themselves, amd the post-Uruguay Round period.
As the WTO and its effects on national and international policies and laws take on increasing significance, the negotiating history of the Uruguay Round has taken on corresponding importance.
Policy makers, diplomats, lawyers, scholars and citizen groups alike are increasingly looking for information on why and how certain provisions in particular WTO Agreements (or indeed how and why entire Agreements) came in, and what the negotiators meant or intended to mean by certain phrases, terms and paragraphs, or how different countries and groups of countries viewed certain Agreements, their parts, and indeed the entirety of the Round.
By producing this CD-ROM, TWN and NGONET hope to contribute to filling in some part of the vacuum or deficiency of information on the Round and on the first years of the WTO.
The SUNS material (over the years since its first issue in 1980) included not only the trade negotiations, but other international issues with a development focus. The documents included in this CD- ROM were published over the years in the SUNS, and cover a number of articles on GATT and the Uruguay Round and the followup, in order to enable a deeper understanding of this important process and outcome. They make no claims to tell the "complete" story. But they do tell a story that won't be found in the "official records", and encompass a contemporaneous reportage of the negotiations, much of it informal and outside.
The SUNS (under the title, Special United Nations Service - SUNS), with Mr. Chakaravarthi Raghavan as the Chief Editor, was started in 1980, by the International Foundation for Development Alternatives (IFDA), precisely to help developing countries to understand and follow what was going on in the various international fora. From April 1989, the publishing responsibility was taken over by the Third World Network Penang and has continued since then. There was a continuous stream of reportage of the UR negotiations and related matters throughout these years.
The publication of the SUNS began as an 'artisanal' effort - cutting and pasting matereial from the telex wires, and photocopying them, but gradually adapting to the available technlogy (computers etc). The material in the SUNS have been reproduced in this CD-ROM as published, with typos corrected wherever the originals had to be retyped and digitalised. None of the substance in the articles, including speculation about what would happen (but did not) have been changed.
The material cover three periods:
The first, "Towards Uruguay Round", point to the processes leading to and the launching of those negotiations; the second "Uruguay Round" cover the important activities and negotiations in the Round, and include some ancillary GATT activities that bear on these; and the third is "Follow-up", the final process and creation of the World Trade Organization as well as its followup.
Each period has been divided in order to facilitate the study of the process. The Divisions correspond to working areas, main topics and related organizations and negotiations.
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