After Doha: Evolution or Revolution in the World Trading System?
The Doha Development Round of multilateral trade negotiations (often referred as the DDR) came to a halt in July 2006. This break followed several unsuccessful attempts to agree on modalities for reducing agricultural subsidies and protection. At Davos, in January 2007, world leaders pledged to resurrect the DDR talks and reach a successful agreement. Yet, in February 2007, the outcome remains in doubt. It seems most unlikely that a robust DDR agreement will be concluded – even though, with much effort, a shallow deal is still in sight. In this brief, we start with a short overview of the world trading system since the Second World War, emphasizing the contribution that trade liberalization makes to world growth. Next we summarize the causes of the DDR breakdown. This is followed by an examination of three different scenarios for the future of the world trading system, highlighting risks and opportunities associated with each. We conclude with bold predictions.
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