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Can the Doha Round Be a Development Round? Setting a Place at the Table

In: Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century

  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Robert W. Staiger

A fundamental objective of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations is to improve the trading prospects of developing countries. The 2001 declaration from the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, commits the member governments to negotiations aimed at substantial improvements in market access with a view to phasing out export subsidies, while embracing "special and differential treatment" for developing countries as an integral part of all elements of the negotiations. The main message of this paper comes in three parts. First, these stated aims are incompatible from the perspective of our economic analysis; thus, if these aims are pursued as stated, then we conclude that they are unlikely to deliver the meaningful trade gains for developing countries that the WTO membership seeks. Second, in attempting to integrate its developing country membership into the world trading system, the WTO may face a "latecomers" problem that, while occurring also in earlier rounds, is unprecedented in its scale in the Doha Round, and which could potentially account for the current impasse. And third, we argue that if the Round maintains its stated aims but moves away from the non-reciprocal special-and-differential treatment norm as the cornerstone of the approach to meeting developing country needs in the WTO, and if developing countries prepare, in markets where they are large, to come to the bargaining table and to negotiate reciprocally with each other and with developing nations, then it might be possible to break the impasse at Doha, to address the latecomers problem, and to deliver trade gains for developing countries.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Robert C. Feenstra & Alan M. Taylor, 2013. "Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feen11-1, December.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12581.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12581
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2011. "What Do Trade Negotiators Negotiate About? Empirical Evidence from the World Trade Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1238-73, June.
    2. James E. Anderson & Yoto V. Yotov, 2010. "The Changing Incidence of Geography," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2157-86, December.
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    4. Diakantoni, Antonia & Escaith, Hubert, 2009. "Mapping the tariff waters," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2009-13, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
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    7. Baybars Karacaovali & Nuno Limao, 2005. "The Clash Of Liberalizations: Preferential Vs. Multilateral Trade Liberalization In The European Union," International Trade and Finance Association Conference Papers 1037, International Trade and Finance Association.
    8. Mattoo, Aaditya & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2000. "Should credit be given for autonomous liberalization in multilateral trade negotiations?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2374, The World Bank.
    9. Purba Mukerji, 2009. "Trade Liberalization And The Extensive Margin," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 56(2), pages 141-166, 05.
    10. Lawrence Edwards & Robert Lawrence, 2008. "South African trade policy matters," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 585-608, October.
    11. Chad Bown, 2004. "Trade policy under the GATT-WTO: empirical evidence of the equal treatment rule," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(3), pages 678-720, August.
    12. Christian Broda & Nuno Limao & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "Optimal Tariffs and Market Power: The Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2032-65, December.
    13. Tokarick, Stephen, 2007. "How large is the bias against exports from import tariffs?," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(02), pages 193-212, July.
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