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

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  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Robert W. Staiger

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2011. "Can the Doha Round be a Development Round? Setting a Place at the Table," NBER Working Papers 17650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17650 Note: ITI
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    Cited by:

    1. Yvan Decreux & Lionel Fontagné, 2014. "What next for the DDA? Quantifying the role of negotiation modalities," RSCAS Working Papers 2014/61, European University Institute.
    2. Jean-Christophe Bureau & Sébastien Jean, 2013. "Trade liberalization in the bio-economy: coping with a new landscape," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(s1), pages 173-182, November.
    3. Decreux, Yvan & Fontagné, Lionel, 2015. "What Next for Multilateral Trade Talks? Quantifying the Role of Negotiation Modalities," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(01), pages 29-43, January.
    4. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-01299828 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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