Conclude Doha: It Matters!
The Doha Round must be concluded not because it will produce dramatic liberalization but because it will create greater security of market access. Its conclusion would strengthen, symbolically and substantively, the WTO’s valuable role in restraining protectionism. What is on the table would constrain the scope for tariff protection in all goods, ban agricultural export subsidies in the industrial countries and sharply reduce the scope for distorting domestic support—by 70 per cent in the EU and 60 per cent in the US. Average farm tariffs that exporters face would fall to 12 per cent (from 14.5 per cent) and the tariffs on exports of manufactures to less than 2.5 per cent (from about 3 per cent). There are also environmental benefits to be captured, in particular disciplining the use of subsidies that encourage over-fishing and lowering tariffs on technologies that can help mitigate global warming. An agreement to facilitate trade by cutting red tape will further expand trade opportunities. Greater market access for the least-developed countries will result from the “duty free and quota free” proposal and their ability to take advantage of new opportunities will be enhanced by the Doha-related “aid for trade” initiative. Finally, concluding Doha would create space for multilateral cooperation on critical policy matters that lie outside the Doha Agenda, most urgently the trade policy implications of climate change mitigation.
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