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Enhancing the Benefits for India and Other Developing Countries in the Doha Development Agenda Negotiations

Listed author(s):
  • Alan V. Deardorff

    (University of Michigan)

  • Robert M. Stern

    (University of Michiganw)

The Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been billed from the start as the “Doha Development Agenda,” with the promise in the Doha Ministerial Declaration to “place [developing countries’] needs and interests at the heart of the Work Programme adopted in this Declaration.” The reason for this emphasis was in part the perception that previous rounds had neglected the interests of developing countries or, in the case of the Uruguay Round, had brought developing countries on board with promises that were misleading or not likely to be kept. The collapse of the September 2003 Cancun Ministerial Meeting reinforced the need to address the interests of developing countries, and recent agreements reached at the WTO in Geneva suggest that the Doha negotiations may now be on track. What is now important to emphasize, as the negotiations get under way, is to follow through with actions that are designed to fulfill the special needs of developing countries and to address their problems in implementing these actions. In our paper we lay out what we believe to be the most important actions that could be taken in the Doha Round for the benefit of developing countries, including India. We base these suggestions primarily on the understanding of the economics of international trade that has been developed over the last two centuries and is widely taught in the universities of the world, and also on the research in recent years dealing with specific aspects of trade negotiations in general and of the Doha Round in particular. With regard to the interests of developing countries generally, we provide recommendations for WTO decision-making, agricultural policies, market access, intellectual property, services, the Singapore issues, technical assistance, and special treatment. Each of these recommendations is accompanied by brief arguments in support. The paper then goes on to review several more specific policy and negotiating recommendations focused on India. It is essential that India and other developing countries participate actively and constructively in the Doha negotiations to further their own interests. They cannot rely on the best-intentioned developed countries to do this for them, since the developed countries will inevitably find themselves making compromises in favor of their own interests and in response to powerful pressures from their domestic constituents. Many developing countries are at a disadvantage in the negotiating process, due to their resource limitations, and in many cases due also to their inexperience in negotiations. Offsetting these disadvantages, however, are their large numbers and the compelling case that can be made for meeting their needs. What the developing countries need is leadership and cooperation, which India is well suited to provide. What is also needed is a willingness to listen and be flexible on the part of their developed country counterparts.

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Paper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 512.

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Length: 12 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:512
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  1. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 2003. "Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade-Policy Options for the United States and Japan," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(6), pages 803-828, 06.
  2. Alan V. Deardorff, 1990. "Should Patent Protection Be Extended to All Developing Countries?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 497-508, December.
  3. Deardorff, Alan V & Stern, Robert M, 2002. "What You Should Know about Globalization and the World Trade Organization," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 404-423, August.
  4. Deardorff, A.V., 1989. "Economic Perspectives On Dumping Law," Working Papers 240, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  5. Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 2003. "Enhancing the Benefits for Developing Countries in the Doha Development Agenda Negotiations," Working Papers 498, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  6. repec:fth:michin:240 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. repec:fth:michin:259 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Mattoo, Aaditya & Subramanian, Arvind, 2000. "India and the multilateral trading system after Seattle - toward a proactive role," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2379, The World Bank.
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