Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Bargaining strategies for Developing Countries at the WTO: the case of Thailand and the Agreement on Agriculture in the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations

By Worakamol Meepiarn


The central research question of the thesis concerns the bargaining and negotiating strategy, as well as the negotiating process, at the GATT and the WTO in relation to developing countries. The key questions this study set out to answer were: considering the vast power disparity developing countries face in multilateral trade negotiations in the GATT/WTO institution and among a number of available strategies, what is, then, the most effective bargaining strategy, under what conditions?\ud The thesis has sought to make a principal argument corresponding to the research question of this study, based on the findings of the case of Thailand’s participation at the Uruguay Round negotiations. Firstly, the thesis shows that Thailand, along with other developing countries with the same level of economic development and a similar level of experience in multilateral trade negotiations, has not been able to rely on merely one negotiating strategy in order to attain the sought after outcomes. The thesis then illustrates that bargaining strategies have to be exercised in all channels. To further systemise, bargaining strategies could possibly be grouped into three levels: (1) international, where coalition building and mixed strategy of distributive and integrative tactics can be utilised; (2) regional, where regional agreements/regional-based coalitions can be utilised as a springboard for bargaining; and (3) domestic, where the role of individual officials and ministers can feed into the effectiveness of the bargaining strategies being conducted. Therefore, the thesis argues that the limited bargaining power of developing countries makes coalition-building an especially crucial and most appealing tool for their effective diplomacy. The thesis also argues that the most effective bargaining tactics are those of a mixture of distributive and integrative tactics, as stipulated by Odell.\ud The thesis contends that Thailand’s experience seems to throw light on the inadequacies of the conventional accounts of domestic-driven negotiation analysis that assume the great role of domestic institutional inputs in the trade policy formulation process. They assume that trade negotiators and officials arrive at the negotiating position after having calculated and balanced inputs from diverse interests within the state. It is believed that negotiation alternatives for any country are direct outcomes of the particular alignment of domestic actors and interests. However, the finding suggests that a very different dynamic is at work in Thailand. Finally, the thesis has maintained that the driving force in trade policy and negotiating strategy in Thailand remains in the hands of the state, mainly via bureaucratic officials. Therefore, new development in negotiation analysis is needed that is of relevance to developing countries’ experiences, since many developing countries with very different political structures and societies have reacted in very similar ways at the international level

Topics: JZ
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1999). 19 พฤษภาคม 2549. [Deesawassmongkon, Polpat, ‘Summary of symposium on characteristic traits of modern manager by the Director-General of the Department of Trade Negotiations’,
  2. (1994). 23 กุมภาพันธ์ 2537. [Jeerapat, Kirkkrai, ‘Direction of Thailand’s Trade after the Uruguay Round Negotiations’. A discussion paper
  3. (1993). 2530.
  4. (1995). 300 Ravenhill, John, ‘The Political Economy of East Asia: doi
  5. (2004). a more multilateral trade policy possible?’ doi
  6. (2006). A New Politics of Confrontation? Brazil and India in Multilateral Trade Negotiations’, doi
  7. (2005). A New Politics of Confrontation?: Developing Countries at Cancun and Beyond’. Conference paper,
  8. (2000). A Positive Agenda for Developing Countries: Issues for Future Trade Negotiations.
  9. (1998). A Siamese Tragedy:
  10. (1994). Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. doi
  11. (1996). Agricultural liberalisation and the Uruguay Round’ doi
  12. (1997). Agricultural Policy Reform and the Uruguay Round: Synergistic Linkage in a Two-Level Game?’ doi
  13. (1999). Agricultural trade policy’, doi
  14. (1994). Agriculture and Natural Resource’, doi
  15. (1996). Agriculture in the GATT. doi
  16. (2004). Agriculture in the New Global Economy. doi
  17. (1987). and the variety of democratic institutions,’ doi
  18. (1993). Bargaining and Lobbying: the path to success in international trade. The Department of Foreign Trade.
  19. (2007). Bargaining Coalitions in the WTO Agricultural Negotiations’, in The World Economy, doi
  20. (1993). Bargaining with Japan: what American pressure can and cannot do. doi
  21. (2003). Behind the Scenes at the WTO: the real world of international trade negotiations. doi
  22. (1995). Between Anarchy and Hierarchy: A Theory
  23. (1992). Bounded Rationality and the Cognitive Revolution. doi
  24. (1993). Building an Integrative Approach to International and Domestic Politics: Reflections
  25. (1998). Building Social Capital in Thailand. Cambridge: doi
  26. Capacity and Concessions: Bargaining Power in Multilateral Negotiations’ in Millennium: doi
  27. (2000). Case Study Method: Key Issues, Key Texts. doi
  28. (1994). Case Study Research: doi
  29. (1984). Choice and Consequences. doi
  30. (1993). Collective Bargaining: Perspectives and Practices.
  31. (1989). Commerce and Coalitions: How Trade Affects Domestic Political Alignments. doi
  32. (1994). Contemporary International Relations: A guide to theory. doi
  33. (1996). Developing countries and system strengthening in the Uruguay Round’, in doi
  34. (1906). Developing Countries’ Participation in the World Trade Organisation, Policy Research Working Paper, doi
  35. (1997). Diplomacy’, in John Baylis and Steve Smith, eds., The Globalisation of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations.
  36. (1988). Economic Growth in the ASEAN Region: The Political underpinnings’, doi
  37. (1992). Economic Policy Reform in Developing Countries. doi
  38. (1994). Economics, the Ministry of Commerce, GATT and the Uruguay Round Negotiations. (1 st revision).
  39. (1994). Economics, the Ministry of Commerce, Thailand’s Offer for the Uruguay Round Negotiations on Agriculture.
  40. (2000). Elite Interviewing: A Practical Guide’, IGS discussion paper series; no 2000/11,
  41. (1996). Elite Interviewing: Approaches and Pitfalls,’ doi
  42. (2005). ERS/USDA Briefing Room -WTO: Glossaries, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Accessed
  43. (1995). Export-Led Industrialisation’ in Medhi Krongkaew, Thailand’s Industrialisation and its Consequences.
  44. (1996). Farm Policy and Trade Conflict: the Uruguay Round and CAP Reform. doi
  45. (1998). Farm Wars. doi
  46. (1995). Foreign Affairs and Trade (New Zealand), Asia: Trade & Economic Prospects.
  47. (2006). FTA FAQ, the Department of Trade Negotiations. Accessed
  48. (2005). German Trade Policy: An Oxymoron?’,
  49. (2006). Getting to “No”: defending against demands in NAFTA energy negotiations’, in doi
  50. (1999). Global Transformation: Politics, Economics, and Culture. doi
  51. (2000). Guide to the WTO and Developing Countries. doi
  52. (1993). High midnight in Brussels: an analysis of the September doi
  53. (1987). How Nations Negotiate. doi
  54. (2005). - ‘General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade’. doi
  55. (2007). - ‘Thailand at a Glance’, the Bank of Thailand.
  56. (2006). - Vietnam Import Export Statistic.
  57. (2006). – Understanding the WTO: Basics (Principles of the trading system). Accessed
  58. (1999). Ideas and Policies,’
  59. (1994). International Multilateral Negotiation: Approaches to the Management of Complexity. San Francisco:
  60. (2002). International Negotiation Analysis,’ doi
  61. (1992). International Politics: a framework for analysis, 6th ed.
  62. (1995). International Trade: theory and evidence.
  63. (1999). Introduction to International Relations.
  64. (1993). Introduction: Integrating International and Domestic Theories of International Bargaining’,
  65. (2005). It Won’t Be Like This All The Time: the Shift from Duopoly to Oligopoly in Agriculture Trade’. Conference paper,
  66. (2001). Justice and Fairness in International Negotiation. Cambridge: doi
  67. (2004). Kholos, Reading doi
  68. (1947). LEGAL TEXTS: GATT
  69. (2007). Legal texts: the WTO agreements. Accessed
  70. (2006). Market Access (NAMA) Negotiations in the WTO’, presentation in Thailand by Peter Ungphakorn, Information Officer, Information and Media Relations Division, World Trade Organisation,
  71. (2004). Mediating Multilateral Trade Negotiations’. A paper prepared for presentation at the annual meeting
  72. (2006). Member countries. Accessed
  73. (1990). Middle Power Leadership and Coalition Building: Australia, the Cairns Group, and the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations’, doi
  74. (1997). Models of Bounded Rationality. doi
  75. (1966). Modern International Negotiation: Principles and Practice. London: doi
  76. (1987). More of the same? Politics and business,
  77. (2003). Multilateral Determinants of Regionalism: The Effects of GATT/WTO on the Formation of Preferential Trading Arrangements’ doi
  78. (2003). Multilateral Negotiation and the Management of Complexity’ doi
  79. (2007). Multilateral trade cooperation: what next?’, in Oxford Review of Economic Policy, doi
  80. (2003). Negotiating Global Change: Progressive Multilateralism doi
  81. (1994). Negotiating the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade’, doi
  82. (2000). Negotiating the World Economy. doi
  83. (2005). Negotiations in the WTO’, presentation in Thailand by Peter Ungphakorn, Information Officer, Information and Media Relations Division, World Trade Organisation,
  84. (1999). Ngaire eds., Inequality, Globalisation and World Politics. doi
  85. (1991). Office of Agricultural Economics, Marketing/Price of Agricultural Products: the Impact of the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture in the case of rice. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives,
  86. (1995). Office of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. Agricultural Trade Liberalisation in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. doi
  87. (2005). Office, Key Statistics of Thailand 2005. Bangkok: Statistical Forecasting Bureau,
  88. (2005). Organisation structure and authority, the Department of Trade Negotiations. Accessed
  89. (2003). Pacific Asia: The Politics of Development. doi
  90. (1987). Policies and Agricultural Trade. doi
  91. (1995). Policies and Developing Nations. doi
  92. (1993). Political economy of policy reform in developing countries. doi
  93. (2001). Politics: Trend and Transformation.
  94. (1999). Positive Diplomacy. doi
  95. (1989). Power in World Politics. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers,
  96. (1994). Preliminary Advantage of Thailand in Negotiations on Tropical Products and Natural Resources.
  97. (1994). Re-engaging with the Global Trading System: The Political Economy of Trade Policy Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa,
  98. (2001). Reframing the issue: the WTO coalition on intellectual property and public health, doi
  99. (2002). Regionalism and Asia’, doi
  100. (2001). Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Regional Perspectives on the WTO agenda: Concerns and common interests.
  101. (1998). Southeast Asian Identity: Culture and the Politics of Representation doi
  102. (1994). Strategic Public Diplomacy and American Foreign Policy: the Evolution of Influence. Oxford:
  103. (2002). Strategy in Negotiation,’ doi
  104. (2001). Study Methods doi
  105. (2004). Summary of Seminar on FTA and the Opportunity for Thailand’s Trade’,
  106. (1993). Suthad Setboonsarng, and Direk Patamasiriwat, ‘Agriculture’ doi
  107. (2006). Thailand ‘s International Economic Policy’, a presentation to Pacific Island Forum (PIF), by the Assistant Director General, Department of Trade Negotiations,
  108. (1994). Thailand’s Offer of tariff concessions regarding both agricultural and nonagricultural products in the Uruguay Round,
  109. Thailand’s Perspective on Multilateral Trade and Development’, a presentation by Trade Officer, Ministry of Commerce of Thailand Raiffa, Howard, ‘Contributions of Applied Systems Analysis to International Negotiation’,
  110. Thailand’s Turn: Profile of a doi
  111. (2002). The Actors in Negotiation,’ doi
  112. (1994). The Agreement on Agriculture. doi
  113. (1994). The Cairns Group Perspective,’
  114. (2005). The Current Negotiations in the WTO: Options, Opportunities and Risks for Developing Countries. London: Zed Books and TWN,
  115. (1975). The Effective Negotiator: A practical guide to the strategies and tactics of conflict bargaining. doi
  116. The Emerging system of International Negotiation,’ doi
  117. (2006). the evolution of national interests: new issues and North-South negotiations during the Uruguay Round,’ in Odell, John S., Negotiating Trade: Developing countries in the WTO and NAFTA. doi
  118. (2004). The Foundations of Research.
  119. (2004). The G20 at the Cancun ministerial: Developing countries and their evolving coalitions at the WTO’ in World Economy. doi
  120. (1994). the GATT and Adaptation of Thailand’, Sukhothaithammathirat Periodicals,
  121. (1994). The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade doi
  122. (2001). The Globalisation of World Politics: An introduction to international relations.
  123. (2000). The Interests of Developing Countries in the Next Round of WTO Agricultural Negotiations,’ in Tim Josling, A Positive Agenda for Developing Countries: Issues for Future Trade Negotiations.
  124. (2002). The Legal Perspective on International Negotiations’,
  125. (1997). The Making of Thai Democracy: A Study of doi
  126. (2007). The Multilateral Trade Regime: Which Way Forward? The report of the first Warwick Commission, Coventry: The University of Warwick, doi
  127. (1999). The multilateral trading system into the new millennium,’ doi
  128. (1991). The Negotiation Process.’,
  129. (2006). The Political Costs of Policy Coherence: Constructing a Rural Policy for Scotland’, doi
  130. (1987). The Political Economy of International Relations. doi
  131. (2001). The Political Economy of the World Trade System: The WTO and Beyond. doi
  132. (1982). The Practical Negotiator. doi
  133. (2004). The role of farmers groups in Thai politics : a case study of domestic and global pressure on rice, sugarcane, and potato farmers’
  134. (1978). The second image reversed: the international sources of domestic politics,’ doi
  135. (1993). The Thai Economy’, doi
  136. (1996). The Trading System After the Uruguay Round. Washington DC:
  137. (2000). The Uruguay Round and the World Economy’, doi
  138. (1996). The Uruguay Round: a milestone for the developing countries,’ in doi
  139. (1995). The Uruguay Round: A Preliminary Evaluation of the Impacts of the Agreement on Agriculture in the OECD Countries.
  140. (1994). The Uruguay Round: Agenda, Expectations and Outcomes,’
  141. (1994). The US Perspective,’ doi
  142. (1987). The World Economic Order: the trade crisis and its implications for Australia. Canberra: Australian
  143. (2007). The World Trade Organisation: Law, Economics, and Politics. doi
  144. (1998). The World Trading System: The Uruguay Round and Beyond, doi
  145. (2003). Trade and Developing Countries: Bargaining coalitions doi
  146. (2005). Trade policy in Thailand: pursuing a dual track approach’ doi
  147. (2003). Trade Policy Review: Thailand. Report by the Government,
  148. (2003). Trade Policy Review: Thailand. Report by the Secretariat,
  149. (1999). Trade Warriors: States, Firms, and Strategic-Trade Policy in HighTechnology Competition. Cambridge: doi
  150. (2005). Trade, Development and the DDA’. Conference paper,
  151. (2006). Trade: Developing countries in the WTO and NAFTA. doi
  152. (1995). Traders in a Brave New World: The Uruguay Round and the Future of International Trading System. Chicago: doi
  153. (1993). US Agricultural Policies’, in Ippei Yamazawa and Akira Hirata, eds., Trade Policies towards Developing Countries.
  154. (2009). Useful Websites CIA, the World Fact Book Joint WTO Committee Office of Agricultural Economics, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand Office of the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Commerce,
  155. (2005). Vision/mission/strategies, the Department of Trade Negotiations. Accessed
  156. (2003). When the Weak Bargain with the Strong: Negotiations in the World Trade Organization’, doi
  157. (2005). WTO Agriculture Negotiations and the Global South’ Conference paper, doi
  158. (2006). WTO agriculture negotiations’, presentation in Thailand by Peter Ungphakorn, Information Officer, Information and Media Relations Division, World Trade Organisation,
  159. (2005). WTO Decisionmaking and developing countries’. Accessed doi
  160. (1998). Zed Books & Third World Network, doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.