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Last Updated: Monday, 8 January 2007, 17:19 GMT
War by Other Means
First broadcast January 2007

Man looking at stock exchange panel and WTO logo
Trade is the lifeblood of the global economy - and it depends on rules decided in tough negotiations behind closed doors.

So what really goes on in the international trade talks?

In the first of two programmes, Dr Ngaire Woods of Oxford University investigates.

Despite denials from Europe's Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, she hears many stories of rough tactics by the big economic powers - including arm-twisting, political pressure and threats to aid programmes.

Current and former negotiators lift the lid on the power of industrial and agricultural lobbies and give a masterclass in the techniques of getting your own way.

Smaller nations find themselves outnumbered and outgunned when they reach the negotiating table. "They're bullies," one former Brazilian official says of trade negotiators from the big economies.

"They say you might as well sign here. Or this is good for you and you don't know anything. Sign here and keep your mouth shut."

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