Turning points and international environments: multilateral negotiations in the GATT and the WTO

  • Crump, Dr Larry
    Griffith University, Australia
    Department of International Business
  • Daniel Druckman, Australia


A turning points analysis is used to capture the negotiating dynamics that occur within the structure of an international organization. Ministerial/Council-level operations and Committee-level operations are distinguished. Within the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha Development Agenda negotiations (2001–present), we isolate Ministerial/Council-level data and within the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), we isolate Committee-level data by examining Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) negotiations conducted during the GATT Uruguay round (1985–1994) and at the WTO Doha Ministerial (2001). A detailed chronology of each case is compiled, followed by the identification of precipitants, departures, and consequences, which are the three parts of a turning points analysis. We conclude that the precipitants that led to negotiation turning points in the Ministerial/Council environment are exclusively internal and generally procedural. The precipitants creating turning points within the Committee environment are generally internal and substantive. These conclusions have implications for international environments within international relations theory. We also establish the types of parties that will function most effectively within specific international environments and suggest a process model that charts the way in which negotiations move toward deadlock within international organizations.


International environments, turning points analysis, international organizational structure, WTO, GATT

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