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What Happened to Doha in Geneva? Re-engineering the WTO's Image While Missing Key Opportunities

Listed author(s):
  • James Scott

    (Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester)

  • Rorden Wilkinson

    (Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester)

This article offers an account and analysis of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 7th Ministerial Conference – a meeting that, although ‘successfully’ concluded, failed to address a series of key issues in the increasingly moribund Doha Round of trade negotiations. We begin with an account of the meeting that offers an insight into the ‘colour’ of these biennial gatherings. The article then identifies and explores the primary consequences of pursuing an agenda designed not to focus on the core issues in the Doha Round but instead to ensure that the meeting is a ‘success’. Here we draw attention to the increasingly problematic nature of the Round's ‘development’ content, the thorny issue of agricultural liberalization and the problems posed for developing countries when their industrial counterparts pursue trade objectives through regional and bilateral means. In the concluding section, we consider the way forward for both the Doha Round and the WTO as an institution.Cet essai invité offre un compte-rendu et une analyse de la 7ème conférence ministérielle de l′Organisation mondiale du commerce, une réunion qui, bien qu’ayant été formellement conclue de manière « satisfaisante », n′a pas abordé les questions clés associées aux négociations commerciales du Cycle – de plus en plus moribond – de Doha. Nous commençons avec une description de la réunion même, afin de donner une idée de la tonalité de ces rassemblements bisannuels. Nous identifions et explorons ensuite les conséquences du fait que la conférence ait poursuivi un ordre du jour qui n′avait pas pour but de se pencher sur les questions fondamentales du Cycle de Doha, mais plutôt d′assurer que la réunion serait un « succès ». Nous poursuivons notre analyse en attirant l′attention sur la nature de plus en plus problématique du contenu des négociations du Cycle de Doha, le problème épineux de la libéralisation agricole et les problèmes rencontrés par les pays en voie de développement quand leurs partenaires industriels poursuivent des objectifs commerciaux par des moyens régionaux et bilatéraux. En guise de conclusion, nous considérons le futur du Cycle de Doha ainsi que de l′OMC en tant qu′institution.

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Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan & European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) in its journal European Journal of Development Research.

Volume (Year): 22 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 141-153

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Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:22:y:2010:i:2:p:141-153
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