How to Conclude the Doha Development Agenda
summary It is easier to launch a Round than to conclude it, and nice words won't do now. To save a trade negotiation which had already gotten off to a wrong start, and which has turned into a narrow lane focused on agriculture, is especially difficult when world trade is booming and only a few players can see benefits for themselves. Both a 'quick fix' and a 'beef round' are still possible, even though ambitious free-traders will regret such an outcome. A drawn-out pause, on the other hand, is a more likely yet not dramatic scenario. It could even be beneficial. Firstly, for re-tabling the so-called Singapore issues (investment, competition, government procurement). Secondly for reflecting on other issues with increasing importance: new multilateral rules for production and processing methods and, more broadly, tackling societal values through trade-friendly methods such as labelling and international environmental and labour standards. Developing countries rightly fear a new face of protectionism behind such themes. But only a broad menu can lead to generally acceptable results. If it includes new issues the WTO can regain the lead in trade liberalisation. If it continues to ignore societal values, the multilateral trading system might be doomed. Copyright The Agricultural Ecomomics Society and the European Association of Agricultural Economists 2007.
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Volume (Year): 6 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (08)
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