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The WTO and the Doha Round : Walking on Two Legs


  • Bernard Hoekman


The Doha Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations has been ongoing for 10 years, and given political cycles in major countries, there is not much hope for a rapid conclusion. The topics on the table are important, and in principle there is enough substance for all countries to gain from an agreement, but, unfortunately, too much emphasis has been placed on gains through market access alone. The Doha Round is about much more than market access. Concluding the talks arguably requires greater recognition of the value of trade policy disciplines that will be part of any agreement. The WTO is not just a market access negotiating forum; it is also a multilateral umbrella through which governments can agree on rules of the game for other trade-related policies. Given the slow progress of the Round, greater emphasis could be put on leveraging existing WTO bodies to enhance the transparency of nontariff measures, address regulatory concerns that impede liberalization of trade in services, and launch a dialogue on domestic economic policies that can create negative spillover effects for trading partners.
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Suggested Citation

  • Bernard Hoekman, 2011. "The WTO and the Doha Round : Walking on Two Legs," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10075, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wboper:10075

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hoekman, Bernard & Martin, Will & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2010. "Conclude Doha: it matters!," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 505-530, July.
    2. Christian Broda & Joshua Greenfield & David Weinstein, 2006. "From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Stephen J. Redding, 2011. "Theories of Heterogeneous Firms and Trade," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 77-105, September.
    4. Will Martin & Kym Anderson, 2012. "Export Restrictions and Price Insulation During Commodity Price Booms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 422-427.
    5. Laborde, David & Martin, Will & Van Der Mensbrugghe, Dominique, 2012. "Implications of the Doha market access proposals for developing countries," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 1-25, January.
    6. Kyle Handley & Nuno Limão, 2015. "Trade and Investment under Policy Uncertainty: Theory and Firm Evidence," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 189-222, November.
    7. Hoekman, Bernard M. & Kostecki, Michel M., 2009. "The Political Economy of the World Trading System," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 3, number 9780199553778.
    8. Will Martin & Patrick Messerlin, 2007. "Why is it so difficult? Trade liberalization under the Doha Agenda," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 347-366, Autumn.
    9. Gootiiz, Batshur & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2009. "Services in Doha : what's on the table ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4903, The World Bank.
    10. Francois, Joseph F, 2001. "Trade Policy Transparency and Investor Confidence: Some Implications for an Effective Trade Policy Review Mechanism," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 303-316, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hoekman, Bernard, 2014. "The Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement and Rulemaking in the WTO: Milestone, Mistake or Mirage?," CEPR Discussion Papers 10212, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Dowlah Caf, 2012. "Mode 4 of WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services: Can it spur Cross-Border Labor Mobility from Developing Countries?," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 56-82, December.

    More about this item


    International Economics and Trade - Free Trade Finance and Financial Sector Development - Debt Markets International Economics and Trade - Trade Policy Private Sector Development - Emerging Markets Economic Theory and Research Macroeconomics and Economic Growth;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations


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