Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis

Edited by Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett

A eBook

Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis
A eBook

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org eBook Edited by Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett .Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis A VoxEU.

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Contents Foreword The Doha dilemma: An introduction to the issues and possible solutions Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett There is no Plan B – only Plan A: Towards completing Doha Mari Pangestu Acknowledge Doha’s demise and move on to save the WTO Susan Schwab Next Steps: Getting past the Doha Round crisis Ujal Singh Bhatia Next Steps: Is an early harvest still possible? Zhenyu Sun Getting past the Doha Round crisis: Moving forward in the WTO John Weekes The good ship Doha: Salvage-and-abandon-ship or repair-and-wait? Stuart Harbinson Keeping the WTO on track: A Doha down payment plus more Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett vii 9 19 27 33 41 47 51 61 .


there is a long list of new issues that will only grow in importance over time. and market access for goods and services. they argue. All the contributors suggest a number of area where agreement is already close. and which could be wrapped up in time for the December Ministerial. but a set of measures that focus on the needs of the least developed nations seems right for a “Development Round”. suggests abandoning the Round altogether and starting from scratch. Several contributors advocate a programme of analysis and discussion that will help members better understand issues such as competition policy. should adopt a new approach. exUSTR Susan Schwab. After a decade of negotiations. The current approach to negotiations is clearly not working and offers no way forward. While much of the energy in the Doha negotiations has been expended on traditional issues such as agriculture. vii . it hardly seems right to call this “an early harvest”. One contributor. abandoning modalities and emphasising horizontal negotiations.Foreword Doha is deadlocked – the members of the WTO are unable to give up and unable to go forward. The December Ministerial. In this eBook the contributors propose several démarche that consider various combinations of 4 initiatives that offer a way out of the current impasse: • Deliver a down payment • Ditch the current process of negotiating in “silos” – it doesn’t work • Develop a new and forward-looking agenda for the WTO • Demonstrate some leadership: The down payment is straightforward. climate change. and government procurement. Why not try new approaches? A number of contributors suggest abandoning the current “silo approach”.

Samantha Reid. they have been very ably supported by Team Vox.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists The current Doha deadlock is largely due to the absence of leadership from the major players. assembling at short notice a distinguished group of authors whose essays identify solutions to Doha Deadlock. And as always. We are grateful to them all. They could seize the initiative by adopting a set of unilateral measures to offer to liberalise trade. Anil Shamdasani and PierreLouis Vézina. The new commercial opportunities this would provide would remind exporters what they have to gain from the conclusion of the Round. Stephen Yeo Chief Executive Officer May 2011 viii . Expecting leadership now from any of the Big 5 is unrealistic. Baldwin and Evenett. Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett have acted with their usual speed and efficiency. suggest that one demarche that could help unblock the impasse is a bold move by the middlepower WTO members. drawing on their discussions with a wide-range of WTO delegations. in particular by Bob Denham.

It argues that the best outcome would be for WTO members to agree to work towards a small package of deliverables for December 2011 and push the rest of the agenda items into the future – perhaps with specific instructions for changing the basic negotiating protocols used to date. The sources of unwillingness vary. The talks are dead in the water. both movement forwards and movement backwards seem blocked. How did we get here? Current and former trade policy officials typically emphasise two points. University of St Gallen and CEPR World leaders must make important decisions concerning the future of the Doha Round for the 31 May 2011 meeting of the WTO membership. Geneva and CEPR. This essay introduces the issues and summarises contributors’ suggestions for “Next Steps”. Others wish to maintain attention focused on particular problems in the trade system. • No government is willing to announce publicly that they want to abandon the Round. • Ten years of talks have made some progress but it now must be taken as a hard fact that the Doha Round in its entirety will not finish this year. Global leaders face a dilemma over the WTO multilateral trade negotiations known as the Doha Round.The Doha dilemma: An introduction to the issues and possible solutions Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett Graduate Institute. Some argue that abandoning the Round would throw away genuine progress. Yet others simply fear that they’ll be blamed for delivering the bad news. such as the ultimate phase-out of agricultural export subsidies. 9 .

or • Road 3: Think creatively about work-around solutions that avoid acrimony and lock in some of the progress to date. Zenyu Sun notes that declaring the Doha Round to be dead would be easy. Most WTO members are still looking for the 10 .” Ujal Singh long-term ramifications differ. This eBook on “Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis” gathers the thinking of a handful of the world’s most experienced Doha experts.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists Next Steps: Saving the WTO from the Doha Round World leaders must now decide how to tackle this dilemma at the WTO’s next key meeting on 31 May 2011. These judgements on the medium. but the shortterm fallout is clear. John Weekes likewise argues: “It would be damaging to invest more resources and credibility in something that can’t be done. he writes. Logically. namely: former US Trade Representative Susan Schwab. China’s former WTO Ambassador Zenyu Sun. by contrast. • Road 2: Buy time by suspending the Round. there are only 3 roads ahead: • Road 1: Declare failure and call for a period of reflection. but then what? “Would such an announcement inspire people to inject more energy into the work of the organisation? Would it serve the purpose of strengthening the multilateral trading system? I rather doubt it”. and Hong Kong’s former WTO Ambassador Stuart Harbinson – all of whom spent years directly engaged in Doha negotiations. A great deal of hope and effort has been invested in the Round by nations across the globe. argues that Road 1 could lead to unpredictable results. Canada’s former WTO Ambassador John Weekes. Road 1: The pitfalls of declaring failure Susan Schwab argues strongly that declaring Doha’s demise is essential to allowing the WTO to move on. Declaring the Round “dead” would invite an immediate storm of recrimination among WTO members. India’s former WTO Ambassador Ujal Singh Bhatia.

Such an outcome would serve no one’s interests. The US in particular is likely to be subject to severe criticism in a way that might have the unintended consequence of convincing US Congressional and private sector groups that the WTO is not a forum where America can do business. Suspensions have been tried so often that everyone would know that suspension is just a circuitous means of killing the Round. The world of trade is changing more rapidly than negotiating positions. so each delay seems to make a compromise based on 11 . As a consequence. All the pitfalls of Road 1 therefore also apply to Road 2. the horse could sing.” the man reasons. Road 2: The pitfalls of suspension Suspension is certainly the most politically expedient choice for the Big-5. There is a great danger that this level of ill-will could undermine multilateral trade cooperation for years. and it is superficially attractive.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis Doha Round to effect critical adjustments to the world trading system – especially a rebalancing of the level of openness to agricultural versus industrial trade (Nassar and Perez 2011). “The Emperor could die. it is extremely unlikely that WTO members will decide to declare Doha dead any time soon.” But the usual merits of muddling through don’t apply to Doha. If one or more of the Big-5 reject a deal that most members still think is doable. This is why almost every WTO member opposes Road 1. Road 2 is just the long route to Road 1. It could lock in the growing perception that the WTO is not a place where serious negotiations can be conducted. the pitfalls highlighted by Bhatia and Sun find resonance with most world leaders. Despite the clear logic of Schwab’s and Weekes’ arguments. I could die. “Much could happen in a year. The logic is well expressed in the old story about a man – condemned to death by his Emperor – who obtains a year’s stay of execution by promising to teach the Emperor’s horse to sing. the blame game could get very nasty. But suspension would be even worse in many ways.

Choices to make on the small package All five experienced trade negotiators contributing to this eBook – and most of the WTO delegations with whom we spoke – believe that it is worth trying to lock in agreement on a small number of areas by the end of 2011. Doha is like a ship run aground. Road 3: A small package followed by a big package The third road seems the most likely way to move past the Doha dilemma of not being able to move forwards or backwards on the broad agenda. It is facing new challenges that will require multilateral solutions – issues like food security. “In this analogy the ‘high tide’ would be a change in the global economic and political seascape. a small package of deliverables for December 2011 would act as a “patch” to keep the “good ship Doha” afloat until the high tide comes in and lifts the ship off the rocks. a suspension would strengthen and spread the belief that the WTO is not an appropriate venue for multilateral negotiations. Worse still. There are two critical issues to decide: 12 . services and technology that are essential to climate-change adaption and mitigation. The idea here is that the agenda would be sorted into “do-able” and “not yet do-able” piles.” This would be particular worrisome since the world economy is moving into a phase of great stress.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists the existing elements even less likely. enabling the major trading economies to settle their differences and bring the ship safely into harbour”. preventing it from addressing new challenges to the global trading system. he writes. natural-resource export restrictions. and trade in goods. As Ujal Singh Bhatia writes: “the Round will continue to hang like an albatross around the WTO’s neck. Nations would move forward on a small package of do-ables for December 2011 while agreeing to discuss the bigger issues later under revised ground rules that would be more likely to permit the trade-offs necessary to make the big package acceptable to all members. As Stuart Harbinson puts it.

13 . quota-free treatment for least developed nations. There is far more agreement on the second issue – possible composition of the small package. the lists are remarkably similar despite the vast differences in the contributors’ perspectives. Suggestions for the small-package items include: • Some sort of accord on duty-free. They all. All the contributors. and other non-trade-policy impediments to trade. inferior port infrastructure. and most of the WTO delegations with whom we spoke. however. How much time should be spent on negotiating the small package? Which items should be in the small package? The contributors disagree over the first issue. • An agreement to make permanent the transparency mechanism for regional trade agreements that has been operating successfully for years. others suggest longer.e. i. however. that striking even a very restrained list of agreement will require abundant goodwill and hard negotiating. • A package of measures that promote “trade facilitation”. suggest that some items on Doha’s massive negotiating agenda are close to conclusion. • An agreement on a monitoring mechanism for special and differential treatment. reducing barriers to imports stemming from excessive red-tape barriers in customs. Susan Schwab argues for giving it not more than 2 weeks. • An agreement on certain non-tariff barriers. • A waiver that allows WTO members to provide preferential access to services trade from least developed nations. • An agreement to reduce distortions in cotton to the benefit of least developed nations. They all point out. 2.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis 1. recognise that a prolonged and contentious negotiation on a small package – especially one that ultimately proved fruitless – would solve nothing and might harm the system. Indeed.

and updating the rules. if it is clear that the Round cannot be concluded successfully. The final issue is what to call the small package. Such a package could also include other DDA matters for which the negotiations could be completed quickly or non-DDA matters where the WTO membership is at one. it speaks to the objective of not letting the Round drag down the WTO – not allowing the WTO’s credibility to be further damaged by endless discussions that can never led to a happy ending. • One option is to just boldly call the small package the “Doha Round” – to declare victory and move on. and services trade. this option would leave unsolved the core Doha issues – reducing distortions in and improving market access for industrial goods. such as the promising negotiations to upgrade the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement. and export subsidies. certain aspects of the less controversial rules negotiations. it is better to admit that and work constructively to develop an agenda for the future work of the organisation.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists • An agreement formalising cooperation between the WTO and various multilateral environmental agreements. However. this is not a trivial matter. Other issues may ultimately prove tractable or necessary to provide balance. or “Doha early harvest” as a way of stressing that all the Doha agenda items are still on the table. While this would clearly disappoint many.” Another option would be to wrap up the collection of small agreements into a package called the “Doha down payment” or “Doha deliverables”. But it might allow members to re-craft the parameters of the negotiations in a way that would be more likely to lead to success. As John Weekes puts it: “Not completing the Doha Round would be a serious setback to the WTO and the multilateral trading system. This is clearly the view taken by Susan Schwab and John Weekes. Of course. agricultural products. Those most often mentioned include a standstill agreement on fisheries subsidies. 14 .

Any multilateral trade negotiation involves choice on a series of negotiating rules or conventions. But many of the choices are less central. These include the idea that everything must be agreed by all before anything is agreed (the so-called singleundertaking principle) or the choice to focus on the particular tariff-cutting formula known as the Swiss formulas. This brings us to the next major element of the Road 3 pathway: What to do with the rest of the agenda? Choices to make on the big package Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. the set of negotiating conventions that guide Round may no longer be optimal. such as the exact way in which flexibilities on tariff-cutting are to be decided. The ramifications of these procedures on the negotiating dynamic were not well understood years ago when the original decisions were taken. This makes it clear that any complete plan for a way past the Doha dilemma must change something in the way the negotiations have been operating. For these reasons.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis A third option would be to view the individual items as standalone agreements to be agreed by the ministers of WTO members at the December meeting without clear reference to what comes next. 15 . Some are fundamental and therefore extremely difficult to change. The Doha Round has accreted an odd constellation of these. Consideration of the pros and cons of alternatives might identify other ways of finding a package of trade-offs that is acceptable to all. The lack of understanding is even deeper when it comes to the joint operation and interaction among the conventions.

there are two basic lines. and the set of options that stand any chance of acceptance is narrow. such as new disciplines to underpin the increasing convergence of trade. investment. Here. hard-working public servants have committed plenty of energy to the Doha Round since its inception.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists The forward-looking agenda A number of contributors suggested that the process of rebuilding momentum and confidence in the ultimate outcome could be boosted by agreeing to launch work programmes (not actual negotiations) on how the WTO could address 21st-century trade issues that have come to the fore since the Doha agenda was set in 2001. The circumstances facing WTO members in the middle of 2011 are hardly ideal. It is time to think creatively and cooperatively about getting the WTO past the Doha crisis. If nothing else. any temptation for recriminations or lapses into bitter disappointment should be set to one side to let governments chart a new path for the WTO. There certainly seems merit to these idea. and services (as is now routinely done in regional trade agreements). or non-decision. setting limits on acceptable national climate policies with trade implications. In times like these. At this critical time. it would be a mistake to make the perfect the enemy of the good. Concluding remarks Many decent. The first would consider WTO institutional reform. it would interject new dimensions to discussions that have been going on for a decade. that led to several more years of drift – years that will be complicated by elections and changes in governments in some of the leading trading powers – could turn out to be the beginning of the end for the WTO’s role as leader of the global trading system. or export restrictions. It would also make it clear that we need to safeguard the WTO as a forum for multilateral discussions on critical 21st-century issues. the second would consider new issues. The alternative – uncoordinated developments led by the 16 . A decision.

Why World Leaders Must Resist the False Promise of a Doha Delay. but not one that will ultimately serve anyone’s long-run interests. 17 .). in Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett (eds. “Why WTO members should not give up the Doha Round: The case of agricultural trade”. References Andre Nassar and Carlos Perez (2011).Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis Big-5 in their own systems of regional trade agreements – is a very plausible outcome at this stage. VoxEU. April.


Companies and countries will continue to trade”. Indonesia’s Trade Minister argues that we need to be guided by priorities and pragmatism. the WTO system will continue to be robust whether we conclude Doha or not. As a developing country policy maker – and I believe I speak for many other developing countries – I am greatly worried about the costs and opportunity lost of not completing Doha. The importance also goes beyond what pragmatic soothsayers who are telling us: “Why are you worried. We should develop a set of stepping stones that will help us complete the Doha Round eventually. Indonesia Doha is stalled by gaps that are unbridgeable today. We should never lose sight of the final goal – completing the Doha Round as a single undertaking. In short. we are not looking for a “Plan B”. 19 . we are looking for a new way to execute Plan A. We should identify the areas that are achievable in the very near future but which have an impact on development while building confidence for the continued journey to a successful Round. The costs of not completing Doha I will point to four costs of not completing the Doha Round.There is no Plan B – only Plan A: Towards completing Doha Mari Pangestu Minister of Trade. • First is what it could achieve for food security. The importance of completing the Doha Development Agenda sooner rather than later goes beyond bringing gains of $360 billion of additional trade with substantial benefits for industrialised and developing economies (HLTE 2011).

without any change in income.6% to G20 exports. Removing these distortions can only be achieved through multilateral negotiations. would lead to a 1% increase in poverty. automatic licenses. 20 .VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists During the 2008 food crisis. correcting the system and ensuring the future supply of food and greater price stability is very much in their interests. It is ironical that in the recovery. it is nevertheless double from the previous period. according to the self-reporting surveillance mechanism established by the WTO at the request of G20 Leaders. imbalances between supply and demand were partly attributed to distorted agriculture prices caused by trade-distorting export subsidies and domestic-support schemes. now is the perfect time to address the removal and elimination of such trade-distorting policies. During the depth of the crisis benign protectionism was the order of the day. Restoration of the confidence in the world trading system through clear signals that we are progressing on completing the Round is crucial to keeping protectionism at bay. and other restrictions including export restrictions. The main increase has been due to tariff increases. rulesbased trading system for us to face large and more developed partners on a fair and equal standing. the latest report (WTO 2011) shows that there has been a slight increase in protectionism causing an estimated impact of 0. not through bilateral or regional agreements. in Indonesia a 10% increase in the price of rice. Most importantly. the winners would be the billions of hungry and poor people all over the world. The agriculture package in Doha will go some way to address this. Developing countries such as Indonesia have a great interest in this because only the multilateral trading system will provide the fair. For example. This allowed the rebound of trade to become one of the costless ways for the global economy to recover. • Second keeping protection at bay. In today’s situation of high commodity prices. Whilst this is still “small”.

the domestic politics at the time did not allow for policymakers to remove this policy. In a country like Indonesia this has worked to our advantage in the way we frame our reforms. it is negotiating them in the absence of a robust WTO system – a system which is seen as meeting the needs of the current and future trade-linked issues. and will continue to raise the pressure to undertake bilateral and regional free trade negotiations. and is negotiating with Singapore. The political economy of openness in trade policy and institutional reform have always functioned better within the framework of international commitments. Japan. Bilateral and regional agreements can only work towards complementing the multilateral trading system when they are “WTO-plus”. and preparing to do so with other ASEAN countries. which violated the MFN principle by allowing duty-free imports of cars only from one source country. Malaysia. and numerous bilateral FTAs. For instance in the famous National Car case in the mid 1980s. India.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis • Third the lack of progress on the Doha Round already has. The EU has also completed negotiations with India. China. Korea and Japan announced revitalization of their FTA initiative. In the ASEAN region there are already FTAs between ASEAN and all six of its dialog partners (Australia. or one which will eventually not be relevant to the evolution of 21st century trade issues. Korea. • Fourth the potential dampening effect on unilateral reforms. and in fact has functioned in the past to put bad policies to rest. Multilateral rules impose an important caveat on what countries can or cannot do. The policy was finally ended through the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism. which has put pressure for the Korea-US FTA to be ratified as soon as possible. Recently China. It would be too bad for reforms if the process is undertaken within weakened confidence of multilateral trading system. It is not the bilateral and regional free trade agreements which are problematic per se. not “WTO-instead”. 21 . Furthermore we have the Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative between 8 members of APEC. New Zealand). The EU has just completed negotiations with Korea.

there was a sense of realism as to the timing and pathways to achieve this desirable outcome in a timely way. This is not about an early harvest or “cherry picking” and then stopping. Identifying stepping stones to a final Doha Round conclusion There are areas within the negotiations that could be seen as steps towards the final package. namely non-agriculture market access. I believe we are more than 50% or some would say 80% of the way done. There remains “unbridgeable gaps” in a number of main negotiating groups. After almost 6 years of negotiations since the key Hong Kong WTO Ministerial. Given this situation. Of course work and political will is still needed to find ways to bridge the 22 . and then on the fringes of the OECD meeting in Paris. It is about identifying the steps forward in a meaningful way towards the final goal of the single undertaking of Doha. ambitious. and all the good intentions and intensive work in Geneva that came after the push given by trade ministers during their informal meeting in Davos in January 2011. and balanced package building on what we have achieved to date. Fortunately all have agreed that we all remain committed to completing Doha as a single undertaking. trade ministers met first during the APEC Ministers of Trade Meeting in Big Sky Montana.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists The Way Forward: No Plan B Despite G20 Leaders’ commitments. We do not support a “Doha Light”. this is necessary to avoid the costs and lost-opportunities I outlined above. and we remain committed to a comprehensive. However. it proved impossible to arrive at a draft text by the end-ofApril milestone. A realistic way forward is to identify the sequence of steps that would take us to the final outcome. From an Indonesian perspective there is no “Plan B”.

We need to be guided by priorities and pragmatism. a number of priorities stand out. to identify the areas that are doable and achievable in the very near future. we need stakeholders to be cheerleading the way forward. Beyond talking about Doha. after all. there could be items which could be wrapped up without disturbing the overall balance of elements in that particular area. • First and foremost is areas of negotiations that will contribute and deliver to development objectives such as the Least Developed Countries package and/or an effective aid-for-trade. a Development Round. It is important that we do not go into “new” negotiations in identifying which areas. we should never lose sight of the final goal of the single undertaking.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis unbridgeable gaps. Looking forward It is also important to provide the signal in what we say and do elsewhere. One could also foresee that. We should go into the mode of identifying these pathways and steps with the mindset and political will of win-win. and facilitation package. but which have an impact on development and increasing the benefits of trade. within each current area of negotiations. Most importantly. • Third there could be areas where we would be able to address the food-security challenge. while at the same time building confidence for us to continue our journey to the final package. • Second areas where there would be clear benefits for development and the private sector in facilitating and ensuring the benefits of trade are greater. open trading system. this is. In identifying the areas where we could find convergence. That is. we must ensure continued confidence in and implementation of the rules-based. 23 .


Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists

• This would mean the commitments of G20 Leaders and others on refraining from protectionism going beyond words; the good intentions need to be strengthened with commitments and actions. • It also has implications for how we undertake bilateral and regional agreements; these should be done in a way that is not an alternative to, and does not detract from the multilateral trading system. We should pursue regionalism in a way which is going to contribute to and complement the system.

Concluding remarks
In conclusion, we should not underestimate the costs of not doing all this. We will need to draw upon the strength of our individual and collective political commitment. We need to call on the ability of some major economies to look beyond pure national interests, and to look at the impact and costs on the global system and economy. And we need to remember that there are many countries and billions of people – many of which are impoverished – who are waiting for the Doha deliverables.

HLTE (2011), “World trade and the Doha round”, final report of the High-Level Trade Experts Group chaired by Jagdish Bhagwati and Peter Sutherland. WTO (2011). “Reports on G20 trade and investment measures (mid-October 2010 to April 2011)”, WTO Secretariat, 24 May.

About the author
Mari Pangestu is Indonesia’s Minister of Trade since 2004, having served as Executive Director of the Jakarta-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a lecturer in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Indonesia. From 1991 to 1998, Dr. Pangestu was the coordinator of the Trade Policy Forum of the Pacific

Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis

Economic Cooperation Council, and serves on the Board of the Overseas Development Council; World Gold Council; and the Asian Journal of Business from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has published widely on a range of subjects including matters pertaining to Indonesia as well as regional (i.e. Asian and Asia Pacific) and global issues. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in economics from Australian National University, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Davis.


let alone a meaningful one. It is time for the international community to acknowledge this sad fact and move on. former U. hard-working and well-intentioned individuals have worked over many years to realise Doha’s potential to contribute to global economic growth and development. End Doha’s stranglehold and build towards near-term wins To keep the multilateral trading system healthy. But what is on the table in Geneva has failed to deliver any outcome. and quickly drop the rest to ensure the December ministerial meeting focuses on future work plans rather than recriminations over Doha. clean break from the past and to lay the groundwork for a future where the WTO and its members revive WTO-led liberalisation and reform. Trade Representative The Doha Round has failed. This should happen quickly in order to ensure that the December 2011 ministerial meeting focuses on future work plans. The Doha Round has failed. A great many smart. Prolonging the pretence that the Doha Round will succeed is now a greater threat to the WTO and the multilateral trading system than facing the truth. This essay argues that prolonging Doha jeopardises the multilateral trading system and threatens future prospects for WTO-led liberalisation. according the former US Trade Representative Susan Schwab. rather than 27 .S. Negotiators should salvage whatever partial agreements they can from Doha. it is necessary to end the Doha Round’s stranglehold on the system. It is time for a swift.Acknowledge Doha’s demise and move on to save the WTO Susan Schwab University of Marlyand.

but perhaps a “rolling round” of reforms and new market access. It is certainly worth trying to achieve a few deliverables by taking a run at a small package. Negotiators should refocus their efforts on near-term wins and on building the next Round – which need not be another behemoth. I suggested that negotiators should try to salvage whatever partial agreements they can and then walk away from the rest. or a few highest-common-denominator plurilateral. food aid. and the elimination of export subsidies). however. one cutting subsidies to industrial fishing fleets that are overfishing the world’s oceans. I mentioned a number of potential candidates. Taken together or individually. each of these would benefit countries across the spectrum of economic development. The small package possibility In my recent Foreign Affairs article (Schwab 2011). A troubling development during the course of the Round has been how often countries seem to forget or forfeit their own economic interests – let alone the greater good – in the face of peer pressure and group-think. these should lead to a broader-based market access and rules agreement under the multilateral auspices of the WTO. say. if they cannot get to “yes” in. Ultimately. In the current environment. Negotiators might also try to complete two environment-related agreements. I am. They already know exactly what the options are. sceptical that even these small agreements are achievable in the current climate of mistrust and entrenched positions. even these smaller deals might prove impossible to achieve. and the other ending tariff and nontariff barriers to ”green” technologies in major producing and consuming countries. state-trading firms.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists recriminations about a Doha Development Agenda that has struggled through one failed encounter after another. they should 28 . two weeks. such as trade facilitation and the largely completed agricultural-export pillar (comprising proposed agreements on export credits. or WTOplus deals. but negotiators should not spend too much time on it.

Getting past Doha How to conclude the Doha Round? One option would be for the Director-General and a representative sample of WTO Ambassadors to come together in the interest of the institution and to offer a declaration of Doha’s demise. the WTO and its next steps. and agriculture. For example. After a short period of grieving over the death of Doha and an opportunity to get beyond the anger. rather than for the ever elusive “balanced and ambitious” Doha outcome. First. however. manufacturing. There are ways to build-up to the big-round model again. along with such issues as farm subsidies. however. This approach offers the best promise of a meaningful “development” outcome as well. lead trading nations should refocus on getting the WTO back into its mainstream business of negotiating mutually advantageous market opening. where countries once more see economic self-interest in the use of broad-based negotiations and trade-offs to achieve both new market access and market reforms. along with their pledge to begin building the future. That would enable leaders at the November G20 meeting to pledge their support for the rules-based trading system. One way forward would be for ministers to agree to launch a number of confidencebuilding negotiations. will be necessary to tackle some of the world’s most important market access challenges in services. How might this be achieved? It seems unrealistic to think WTO members would agree to launch another massive all-or-nothing round in the near future. and updating the global ”rules of the road”. ministers in December could decide to open talks 29 . Such broad negotiations.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis give up and move on to the real challenge of launching a new series of multilateral negotiations under WTO auspices. we must re-establish trust and regain momentum.

Lessons from Doha for next steps and the next round Confidence building agreements would offer modest economic and social contributions. and serve to prepare the atmospherics for launch the next Round. the greater the cut – while still creating real negotiations around them through requests and offers delivered using above. such as cheaper. a sectoral negotiation on environmental goods and services might be another confidence-building deal. a number of nations seem interested and the US Administration already has the authority to implement an enhanced agreement. but expecting their trading partners to use flexibilities to negate any meaningful new market-access. better healthcare.and below-formula cuts. If negotiators fail to work through the 850 brackets in the current Doha trade facilitation text. It resulted in a situation where every negotiator had to assume the worst case – knowing the political costs they would pay for their own liberalisation. and healthcare services might attract support from the broad array of WTO members across the development spectrum.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists on expanding the 1997 Information Technology Agreement. It is possible to draw from the best of the Doha formulas – such as the higher the barrier. medical devices. This brings me to my last topic – the lessons we should draw from a decade of Doha talks. that could also be tackled as a stand-alone agreement. 30 . once it is removed from the straightjacket that Doha has become. Given the high-level of public interest in and awareness of environment issues. A package that included pharmaceuticals. One thing that is quite clear from years of struggling with the basic structure of Doha is that the combination of formula and self-selected flexibilities has not worked. Another confidence-building measure might be a merger of sectoral agreements geared toward a widely-shared objective. since each nation would benefit from more efficient movement of goods and services across borders.

represent over half of global GDP growth. but expectations should also reflect the fact that many emerging economies are characterised by both poverty and sectors where they are globally competitive trade powerhouses. 31 . The Doha Round – which in my view cannot be concluded as it is conceived today – should not be allowed to continue draining the WTO’s credibility and potential progress on the multilateral front. They should be expected to contribute to the next Round accordingly. The emerging economies have large markets. the advanced economies should be expected to do more than those at lesser stages of economic development. and least developed – is a practice that no longer fits 21st century economic and trade realities. Major trade agreements generally take at least 12 years to implement from the time they are initially concluded. The optimistic scenario is that we put the Doha Round behind us. What should the world trading system look like in 2025 in terms of the absolute and relative responsibilities of key trading nations? Concluding remarks I am optimistic when it comes to the multilateral trading system and the WTO’s central role in its governance. Now is the time to liberate the would-be trade liberalisers from the Doha straightjacket and move on. developing. Yes. Nor is it a structure conducive to negotiations and real progress based on an exchange of market access among nations with large markets.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis Another key lesson is that lumping the world’s very diverse economies into three basic categories – developed. and stand to be the biggest winners from any major trade agreement. the WTO risks losing its relevance. If we fail to act. Facing facts can invigorate and strengthen the trading system.

Ambassador Schwab served as U. LLP (global law firm) since March 2010. Prior to her service as Deputy U. Foreign Affairs. in Public Administration and International Business from The George Washington University. as a consultant for the U. Department of Treasury from July 2003 to December 2003 and as Dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy from July 1995 to July 2003.S. Ambassador Schwab serves on the boards of Boeing Company. a Masters in Development Policy from Stanford University (Food Research Institute). May/June. About the author Ambassador Schwab has been a Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy since January 2009 and a strategic advisor to Mayer Brown. Trade Representative. and FedEx Corporation. Trade Representative from October 2005 to June 2006.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists References Schwab. in Political Economy from Williams College. She holds a B.S.S. Trade Representative from June 2006 to January 2009 and as Deputy U.A. and a Ph.D. 32 .S. Caterpillar Inc. “After Doha: Why the negotiations are doomed and what we should do about it”. Susan (2011). Ambassador Schwab served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the University System of Maryland Foundation from June 2004 to October 2005.

the Round will continue to hang like an albatross around the WTO’s neck. energy security. the WTO finds itself at the crossroads. 2) Assemble a package of contentious issues for ongoing negotiation with clear terms of reference. 1) Identify a package of “deliverables’ – parts of the Round that could be agreed by December 2011. All countries would suffer from such an outcome. For reasons that are too well known to be repeated. 33 . labour mobility.Next Steps: Getting past the Doha Round crisis Ujal Singh Bhatia Formerly India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO Hopes for finishing Doha in 2011 are fading fast. trade-related aspects of climate change. Decisions to be taken in the next few weeks will determine whether it can steer its way to a successful conclusion of the Doha Round in the near future. The cost of a never-ending Doha Round The adverse implications of a continuing Doha impasse on the future role of the WTO are too compelling to be dismissed offhandedly. This essay suggests a three-track approach for moving beyond the Doha crisis. and integration of regional liberalisation into the multilateral system are problems that can only be solved with global cooperation. Failing this. Several trade-linked global problems require global cooperation. preventing it from delivering the promised boost to least developed nations and freezing its ability to address new challenges to the global trading system. 3) Establish a work programme to consider WTO institutional reform and forward-looking issues. but especially the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. commodity price volatility. Food security.

There are many thinkers who believe that the structure of WTO rules is robust enough to withstand a Doha failure. it is now clear that a Doha package cannot be wound up in 2011 along the lines agreed by G20 leaders in November 2010. A WTO locked in endless Doha debates cannot be the centre of the rules based global trading system. the rules were not designed for the technologydriven fragmentation of the manufacturing process and the distribution of the product value chain across several geographical locations. There are very few global institutions that could manage such cooperation. however. Therefore. The WTO is working on a set of rules agreed upon in 1994 that were based on an agenda set almost a quarter of century ago. Such analysts. It is true that the sky will not fall if Doha is terminated without a conclusion. it is necessary to think creatively about ways forward. 34 . These are still useful and relevant for much of world trade – but not all. tend to underestimate the significant structural changes taking place in the global economy and the trading system.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists For example. Avoiding this sort of outcome would require global agreements. This sort of protectionist reverberation could lead the world to a situation in which all the players are worse off but none can improve the situation unilaterally. or the multiplicity of rules of origin. the intertwining of production with related services. the continuing relevance of the WTO and its primacy in the global trading system are contingent upon a successful and early conclusion of the Doha Round. the embedded intellectual property rights in components and subcomponents. A WTO that remains preoccupied with the Doha Round cannot be expected to focus on such issues. To prevent this from tying the WTO in knots for years to come. if food exporters continue to impose export barriers when prices rise. For instance. food importers may respond with import barriers to boost self-sufficiency. indeed the WTO might be the only one. All these require a different approach to rule making. Notwithstanding this urgency.

and the forward-looking agenda. four constraints need to be borne in mind: • A “Doha Lite” of reduced ambition will not work. • The Doha Round cannot be completed in 2011. cannot be defined to suit the convenience of a few members. A down payment is necessary from the Doha Round this year to convince the world that the WTO can deliver. Track 1: Identification of a list of issues that specially address the trading interests of smaller developing countries and relatively less contentious issues. 35 . Ambition.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis Ideas for moving beyond the impasse Any effort to deal with the impasse in the negotiations needs to be based on a holistic appreciation of the systemic implications of a continuing stalemate as much as on the negotiating positions of various members. however. • Aspects of the Doha mandate that are more relevant to the development dimension have to be ambitiously addressed and fast tracked. A three-track approach These constraints require the WTO to adopt a three-track approach during the next few months leading up to the ministerial meeting in December 2011. Track 3: Identification of appropriate terms of reference for a work programme on WTO institutional reform. It must touch all aspects of the Doha mandate. • WTO needs to start work on a new work programme to address new challenges. The outcome has to reflect a decade’s efforts of the global community. Within this framework. The efforts for a solution acceptable to all members therefore need to focus on issues in the Doha mandate as well as on issues for a post Doha situation. for fast tracked finalisation before the ministerial meeting. Track 2: Identification of a package of the more contentious issues for continuing consultations with clear terms of reference.

and • The finalisation of a less-developed-country (LDC) waiver in services so that preferential treatment can be provided to LDC’s in services without extending it to others. taken as a package. there is still time to get the package ready for finalisation by ministers at the December 2011 ministerial meeting. Achieving consensus on them would be difficult – and require months of preparatory work and negotiations. Such a list must include items that speak to development aspects of the Doha mandate. As with any WTO package the contents would need to be negotiated. This would leave about four working months before the ministerial meeting to complete negotiations on the selected areas. such as: • The Implementation of the Hong Kong decision on duty-free. however. 36 . would provide a way forward that respects all four constraints.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists A possible timeline These three tracks. For this to happen. • A ministerial decision on the issues raised by the Sub-Saharan African cotton exporters (the group known as the C-4). quota-free treatment for less developed countries. If the WTO membership starts immediately. What the three tracks might contain The first track would contain the Doha down-payment package. it is essential that discussions on such a package begin this month so that its contents can be finalised by the end of June 2011. and it might require complementary policies such as technical assistance initiatives. • A ministerial decision on the Monitoring Mechanism for Special and Differential Treatment provisions.

• All aspects of subsidies in agriculture. and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer). and • A ministerial decision on interactions and relationships between the WTO’s rules and its committees. and • Issues related to trade-related aspects of international property rights (TRIPS) regarding the protection of Geographical Indicators. it is important that the package is as comprehensive as possible. the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes. and existing multilateral environmental agreements.g. • Environmental goods. on the one hand. including fisheries subsidies. and the protection of traditional 37 . Track two: Items for further negotiation The second track would gather all remaining items currently under negotiations. • All aspects of export competition in agriculture including export subsidies. • The Transparency Mechanism for regional trade agreements (RTAs). • The non-tariff barriers (NTBs) package in non-agricultural market access (NAMA).Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis It should also include areas of the negotiations that engage the interest of all members such as: • Trade Facilitation. • Various aspects of rules. on the other (e. This would include: • All aspects of market access in industrial goods. While some members would like to exclude some of these areas from a fast tracked process in the hope of using them for trade offs in the final stage. agriculture and services.

The situation however. China. 38 . Track three: Looking ahead The underlying theme for the work programme would be an appraisal of the entire negotiating and decision-making process in the WTO in the context of the present realities both within and outside the organisation. Closing remarks The above proposals constitute a basic template for addressing the Doha conundrum. To what extent they are actually embraced will depend on how much political capital the major members of the WTO are prepared to invest in moving the Doha Round forward. The interest of countries like India.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists knowledge and folklore that were are mentioned in the Convention on Biological Diversity1. will be required. There is much scepticism about whether such political will exists. is more complex. The need for a balanced package deserves emphasis. The objective would be to prepare the WTO to address new challenges to the global trading system concurrently with the ongoing work on the remaining parts of the Doha mandate. as specified in paragraphs 18 and 19 of the Doha Declaration. 1 Specifically. within the mandate. and Indonesia in agricultural reform is more systemic than export related. It is time for governments to prove the sceptics wrong. For them other incentives. It is often assumed that there is a straight trade-off between agricultural subsidies and market access.

From 2004 to his retirement in 2010. he served as India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva. 39 . holding several senior positions in provincial administration in Orissa State between 1976 and 1995. in which capacity he handled a number of bilateral. He served as Joint Secretary. Ministry of Commerce and Industry between 19952000. regional and multilateral trade negotiations.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis About the author Ambassador Bhatia Singh joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1974.


41 . ii) to suspend them until after the US elections. what could be done next? Just continue with business as usual? Should members only focus on trade policy reviews. While I can feel their strong sense of frustration about the deadlock. The author strongly believes that the early harvest is worth the extra efforts – for both the WTO and the world’s poorest.Next Steps: Is an early harvest still possible? Zhenyu Sun China Society for World Trade Organization Studies Doha is deadlocked. I don’t have one either. on regular meetings in the bodies under the General Council. I don’t see any real possible solutions for the problems at hand. The lack of a solution is probably due more to political problems than to technical problems. and on dispute settlement cases? Should they take it for granted that the panellists and Appellate Body members will be able to fill in the gaps of writing new rules for the world trading system? This does not sound very attractive. This essay argues that the options are: i) to declare the negotiations dead. I am greatly interested in the discussions among experts and professors recently on the future of the Doha Round. After dropping the Round. or iii) to negotiate an earlyharvest agreement for the end of this year. Next steps To announce that the Doha Round is dead would be easy. But then what? Would such an announcement inspire people to inject more energy to the work of the organisation? Would it serve the purpose of strengthening the multilateral trading system? I rather doubt it.

To not even to talk about the “single undertaking” any more. but it is not in line with 60 years of WTO common practice. In any case. It may still be difficult to cover labour and environmental standards. heretofore respected. the hard bargaining over the past 10 years would not disappear with the start of a new round. Another option could be to rule out all rounds after Doha. the only option left is some kind of ”early harvest” to be adopted at the December 2011 ministerial meeting. In any new round members could not ignore the built-in agenda of agricultural subsidies. and rules.e. How could they do this? Could there be a completely new round sometime later? Or could there be new rules or amendments of the old ones adopted at each and every council or committee separately? One option would be to launch a new round. to abandon the negotiating principle. could be even more difficult than the Doha Round itself. Early harvest as the way forward If dropping the Round is not an attractive option.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists The need for progress and the difficult options If the WTO is to remain relevant. Members may not like this option because it could rule out trade-offs across interests in other areas. I personally believe this option might be feasible. its members must negotiate new rules. or discussing the tariff-cutting formula on agricultural and nonagricultural products. i. where all WTO members must agree to all aspects of the final package. setting new rules and amending old ones on their own. To start a new round post-Doha. I am fully aware that some members are strongly against the idea of an early harvest. and if waiting till after the next US election is likewise unappealing. Even if they could eventually negotiate a duty-free quota-free agreement for the world’s 42 . or services trade. however. People have tasted the failure of Seattle. This option would just let the councils and committees continue with their normal functions.

and when we face great uncertainties. This means giving thought to ways to save the credibility of this organisation. The WTO has amply proven its worth as a bulwark against protectionism during a highly challenging period. and an agreement on trade facilitation. As the APEC leaders reiterated at a recent summit: “We uphold the primacy of the multilateral trading system and reaffirm that this strong. Safeguarding the future of the WTO is particularly important at a time when the world has experienced the global financial and economic crisis. My friend Ujal Singh Bhatia (WTO Ambassador from India until 43 . and stability. to deliver the promise of a development round.” I do hope that people take this statement seriously. rules-based system is an essential source of sustainable economic growth. its existing framework of rules. development. and its consultative mechanisms in contributing to the beginnings of global economic recovery.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis poorest nations. the upheaval in the Middle East. I would like to make an appeal to those members. an agreement on cotton. If members are willing to move along that line. We take considerable satisfaction in the success of the WTO. Guarding the future of the multilateral trading system It is high time that people gave more considerations to the future of the multilateral trading system and less to their short-term national economic interests. and to make sure that this organisation is still relevant to 21st century trade matters. Content of the early harvest Certainly there could be more detailed discussions on what issues should be included in the possible package. there is still time to finalise the content. they are unlikely to agree to implement them now because they will need to use these issues to negotiate trade-offs with their other interests.

I am sure that members would prefer to have their trade ministers making some kind of substantive decisions. It could also help President Obama achieve the goals of doubling US exports in the next 5 years and substantially increasing employment at home. Concluding remarks When they meet in Geneva this December. • Trade facilitation could bring benefit to all members. These are decisions taken at the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting. duty-free-quota-free treatment for LDCs and the issue of cotton have to be included in the package. 44 . The EU may want to bring in some other issues to balance its interests. An early package for the Doha Round is probably a suitable one for the ministers to consider and to deliver at their meeting later this year. Personally. It could help trade expansion enormously and bring even more benefit to trade than would further reduction of tariffs. I believe it is doable through adding some issues of their interest. I strongly believe that it is worthwhile to make some extra efforts along the lines he has proposed. to the package.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists 2010) has indicated some areas where members could try to build consensus and adopt a decision at the December 2011 ministerial meeting (Bhatia 2011). such as environment products. its immediate implementation would be conducive to addressing the great concerns of the poorest countries and thus very much in line with the principle of the Doha Development Round. • In any case. • The date for expiration of export subsidies at 2013 was adopted at the Hong Kong ministerial meeting and should be included in the package.

Oil and Foodstuff Import and Export Corporation (COFCO). About the author Zhenyu Sun. he worked on bilateral trade relations between China and UK. which later became Mofcom. Canada and Manchester University UK. he served successively as staff member. In 1989.S. Born in Fengnan County of Hebei Province in March 1946. “Salvaging Doha”. He served as vice minister of Moftec (Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations. New Zealand and Latin American countries during this period. Australia. focusing on the company’s business with Japan and South-east Asian Countries. Canada. Ujal (2011). Ministry of Commerce) from November 1994 till 2002 when he went to Geneva as WTO Ambassador.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis References Singh Bhatia. Mr. 45 . From 1990 to 1994. he served as Deputy Director General and Director General of Department of American and Oceanic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation (MOFTEC).org. Sun Zhenyu graduated from Beijing Foreign Languages Institute in July 1969. he worked as Vice President of China National Cereals. he attended one year program of Management Training Course for senior executives sponsored by UNDP in cooperation with University of British Colombia. served as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of China to the WTO from 2002 to 2010. VoxEU. later between China and European Community. working on bilateral trade relations with U. 10 May. From 1985 to 1990. the Chairman of China Society for World Trade Organization Studies. Textiles and Intellectual Property Rights.. He participated on separate occasions in Sino-US bilateral negotiations on Market Access. Deputy Director and Director in the Third Department for Regional Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Trade. During this period. From 1973 to 1985.


This essay argues that finishing Doha would be best. No single achievement would be more valuable than binding in the WTO rulebook the current level of trade protection maintained by its members in all three areas of market access – industrial goods. Bringing the Doha negotiations to a successful conclusion is by far the best course of action. it is better to admit that and work constructively to develop an agenda for 47 .Getting past the Doha Round crisis: Moving forward in the WTO John Weekes Bennett Jones LLP The Doha Round is stuck. Leaders should turn their energies towards building an agenda for the WTO’s future work that responds to 21st century interests. agriculture. However. It would also set a new start line for the launch of any subsequent negotiations. which will surely come before too long. This action would permanently capture the considerable liberalisation that has taken place since the effective conclusion of Uruguay Round in 1993. we should admit it and move on. Investing more resources and credibility in a failure would only damage the WTO and multilateral cooperation. but only if it can be done quickly. the WTO cannot afford another failure if Doha dies. and services. Getting this right is critical. but if this is impossible. if it is clear that the Round cannot be concluded successfully. The valuable contribution that such a development would make to strengthen the trading system has been examined at length elsewhere. An early harvest is an excellent idea. If Doha cannot be completed … Not completing the Doha Round would be a serious setback to the WTO and the multilateral trading system.

After the failure 48 . In a world of global supply chains. It would be damaging to invest more resources and credibility in something that can’t be done. particularly when decisions are taken on the basis of consensus. The WTO itself remains an extremely valuable institution. but rather differences among the largest and most powerful trading countries. One common mistake is to argue that the WTO as a whole is too big. business needs a set of multilateral rules within which to operate – now more than ever. While avoiding recrimination. who would need to be party to the conclusion of any major trade negotiation. One thing is clear. WTO members should spend some time reflecting on the reasons for the current difficulties. The continued accession of new members to the organisation is a further indication of just how valuable it is to the international community. with 153 members. Its worth has been proven by the role it played in discouraging its member governments from taking protectionist actions during the recent global economic crisis. Many outside observers suggest that.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists the future work of the organisation. that blockages preventing conclusion of the Round are not the large number of members. While the built-in agenda that emerged in Marrakesh led to useful work and provided a good basis in some areas. a major and sustained effort has been made by all the members to try to deliver a successful outcome. therefore. One reason for Doha’s problems is that the preparatory process for the Round was inadequate. Avoid the blame game If the members decide that the Round cannot be brought to a successful conclusion it will be important to avoid recrimination. It is important to note. the WTO is too unwieldy an organisation to address the challenges of 21st century trade. it did not permit the sort of broad thinking that should have gone into preparations for a major negotiating effort.

I suspect it will not be easy to agree 49 . it is going to take. the effort should be abandoned. Obviously the world of 2011 is very different from that of 1982. One of the problems with the 1990s built-in agenda was that it was very difficult to introduce any new items into the discussion. Global supply chains and the seamless connections between trade in goods. say. and then concluding.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis in Seattle. launching the Round as a political act in the face of terrorist threats in 2001 was not an adequate foundation. Members should start to plan the future work now. more than six months. This is an excellent idea provided it can be done quickly and efficiently. The product of those efforts became the basis for launching. and investment present a series of new challenges for the trading system. however. In order to avoid such difficulties. it would be useful to develop the future agenda over a two-year period. Develop the WTO’s future work programme over the next two years WTO member governments should now begin to plan the future work programme of the WTO. even including consideration of further tariff liberalisation. But this is work that should be done properly and not in haste. trade in services. Ministers at December’s ministerial conference could ask the General Council and the Director-General to consider the matter and come forward with suggestions for the future work of the organisation at the next ministerial conference in 2013. The last major work programme undertaken in the multilateral trading system began at the fractious GATT ministerial meeting in 1982. The work then undertaken in the GATT was supported by efforts undertaken in other international organisations and domestically by the various ‘contracting parties’ (as members were called back then). the Uruguay Round negotiations. If. Do we need Doha “down payments”? Many “players” and observers have raised the question of what might be salvaged or harvested if the Doha Round cannot be finished this year.

Building a solid agenda for the future work of the WTO that responds to the real interests of its members needs to be a central task of the organisation. 50 . He was instrumental in the creation of the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements and served as its chair from its inception in 1996 until he became Chair of the General Council. Prior to that. The effort would also serve the purpose of testing whether the WTO can negotiate agreements outside the context of a round. He is on the Board of the Washington-based Cordell Hull Institute. the WTO cannot afford another failure. About the author John Weekes is senior international trade policy adviser at Bennett Jones LLP with a long experience in trade diplomacy and trade policy. He was Canada’s Ambassador to the WTO from 1995 to 1999. he was Canada’s Chief Negotiator for NAFTA (1993 to 1995).VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists on which parts of the Doha Round should be salvaged given the different priorities of WTO members. He was a member of Canada’s negotiating team to the Tokyo Round of GATT negotiations in the 1970s. and Chaired the Management Board of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law in Geneva. and Chair of the WTO General Council in 1998. and Canada’s Ambassador to the GATT during the last multilateral trade negotiations (Uruguay Round). Concluding remarks If the Doha Round is not successful. It would be very useful to have an answer to that question.

The choice now facing us is to salvage what we can and abandon ship. or ii) to patch up the holes by delivering some progress in December 2011 and then wait for a high tide to carry us off the rocks. This essay argues that the choices are: i) to abandon ship and try with a new ship later. While the agenda is 10 years old and showing its age in some respects. This is because the issues at the heart of the Round still matter – namely. The good ship Doha is well and truly stuck on the rocks. attention has turned to what some call “salvage”. and services. A salvage operation implies that the vessel is no longer seaworthy. Let’s make no mistake – the rocks are substantial and there is no magic solution that will instantaneously get us off them. The critical test for deciding on immediate next steps should be whether they would facilitate or complicate ultimate resolution of these difficult issues. but Doha is a ship run aground. Only the latter is likely to achieve the core goals. few are currently advocating its abandonment. and services trade – still matter. We would then have to look for another ship. wait for a high tide. One of the problems with this 51 . industrial. and sail on.The good ship Doha: Salvage-andabandon-ship or repair-and-wait? Stuart Harbinson Sidley Austin LLP The core Doha goals – better market access and rules for agricultural. industrial products. we should just grab what we can and leave the ship to smash itself to pieces on the rocks. or to patch up the holes. Salvage and re-launch new negotiations: An option that won’t work With a ministerial conference coming up in December. market access and rules for trade in agriculture.

Even then. The problems we face in agricultural and industrial market access. We would thereby acknowledge. Admittedly there is an element of hope in this. for example. 52 . unemployment. will not simply disappear. “Deliverables” for the ministerial conference could constitute a patch to keep the ship afloat until the high tide comes. as Ujal Bhatia Singh eloquently put it recently. and start all over again with a better chance of success. etc. major domestic policy preoccupations. forget about Doha. exchange rate issues. The reality would surely prove to be quite different. It’s tempting to think that we can simply salvage a few things. enabling the major trading economies to settle their differences and bring the ship safely into harbour.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists scenario is that it would take quite a while to design and construct a new vessel suitable for WTO negotiations.) will persist indefinitely. key members are now much clearer about the remaining gaps and what it would take to bridge them – a very useful position from which to restart at the right time. as a result of intensive work in recent months. however. In this analogy the “high tide” would be a change in the global economic and political seascape. the new ship will have to negotiate its way around many of the same rocks. highly inimical environment (recession. should not be interpreted to mean that the WTO as an institution is locked in a death embrace with the Doha Round. This. Repair and carry on This leaves us with the option of repair-and-carry-on (though not necessarily in the same way as in the past). that we are “lashed to the mast of Doha” (Bhatia 2011). Furthermore. but on balance it does not seem likely that the present.

nor does it tally with my own experience as Chairman of the General Council at the time. it is inconceivable that such a complex undertaking could have been agreed in the space of two months.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis The Doha Round is durable for a reason That the Doha Round persists after the vicissitudes of over nine years of negotiations is testimony to its robustness. 53 . If such interest has subsided. stimulated by the WTO’s successes in moving forward in financial services and basic telecommunications in the late 1990s. Recall that the Agreement on Agriculture refers to the “Continuation of the Reform Process”. were similarly champing at the bit. These efforts received considerable reinforcement from the failure of the Uruguay Round “built-in agenda” negotiations on agriculture and services to deliver results. Efforts to launch a round in fact began well before the ill-fated Seattle Ministerial Conference in 1999. well before 9/11. a process to which many governments and industries were – and still are – strongly committed. As the first chairman of the Doha agriculture negotiations commencing in 2002. the history of the preparatory process in 2001 shows clearly that. The widely held view that it was launched off-the-cuff in reaction to the tragic events of 9/11 without substantive business or political backing is not borne out by the historical record. the working hypothesis for the Doha Ministerial Conference was the launch of a new round. I can also testify personally to the intense business and political interest at that time. Many services industries. In the first place. While it is true that there was also some opposition. this could be ascribed to the apparent lack of movement in the negotiations and the changing political and economic dynamics since the Round was launched.

Among the candidates (concentrating on Doha issues. However. Even within rules. in no particular order) appear to be the following: • Trade facilitation is most often mentioned. Nevertheless it might be prudent not to invest too much expectation in this process. worse still. this would be a major boost. There is a danger that such an exercise would involve multiple “shopping lists” which would prove in a number of instances to be irreconcilable. including technical assistance. although substantive issues remain to be resolved. • An agreement on the export competition pillar in the agriculture negotiations would also be a very substantive contribution. few issues come without caveats attached. as well as the high-level political commitment restated only six months ago. The last thing the WTO needs at present is to have a lengthy and acrimonious discussion about “deliverables” culminating in a paltry agreement or.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists Deliverables would be welcome – as long as expectations are reasonable Given the extremely strong commitment displayed by WTO members both in launching the Round and resolutely pushing it forward over an extended period. 54 . no agreement at all. if it can be delivered. a concerted effort to identify a decent number of “deliverables” for the eighth ministerial conference in December would certainly be welcome. Whether the political will exists to settle this in advance of the remainder of the agriculture package is a question that will need to be answered. It is questionable if an agreement should be rushed into if it involves too many compromises. Possible deliverables The emphasis on “deliverables” should be on the rules elements of the Round since market access remains highly contentious and linkages make it unlikely that partial results could be delivered.

so the chances may not be great. However this item is linked with market access and the stumbling block of the “necessity test” issue remains. there is a very real issue to be resolved here and concerns over circumvention must be addressed. However. • Definitive implementation of the transparency/monitoring mechanism on regional trade agreements. an agreement on transparency may be the most likely. this would constitute a welcome confirmation that the development component of the Round is not sliding off the deck. Reviews of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) schemes in the US and EU may be a complication. • Progress building on the “duty-free-quota-free” (DFQF) market access commitments for least-developed country agreed at the Sixth Ministerial Conference would be highly desirable. although it may be possible to grapple with these at a later date with a new US Farm Bill and especially if the Round as a whole is concluded. • Cotton also falls into the highly desirable category. • Non-tariff barriers: There should be a trawl through the negotiating issues in an attempt to identify possible “deliverables”.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis • Domestic regulation in services may be considered as another significant possibility. Though perhaps not in itself a major achievement. Political realities in the US may still prove to be an insuperable obstacle in 2011. and dutyfree-quota-free raise the tricky issue of rules of origin. • Agreement on a monitoring mechanism for “special and differential treatment” would be useful. • The least-developed country waiver in services is more feasible though its utility is limited without services commitments. there are political issues to be overcome. Realistically. 55 .

• On trade and the environment. 56 . since this is closely linked with negotiations on market access for industrial products. any agreement on reducing barriers to trade in environmental goods and services seems unlikely. • In trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS). It seems highly unlikely that these could be resolved in time to deliver an agreement in December. Overall. there is a reasonable prospect of constructing a respectable package. Desirable as it is. • Considerable difficulties persist in the negotiations on fisheries subsidies. especially if trade facilitation and export competition can be included. the register of Geographical Indications for wines and spirits might be doable in isolation but linkages to the extension of additional protection to other Geographical Indications and to agriculture may prove to be a major complication. it should be possible to deliver on paragraphs 31(i) and (ii) of the Doha Ministerial Declaration – the relationship between WTO rules and Multilateral Environmental Agreements including information exchange between the WTO and the Multilateral Environmental Agreements such as the Montreal Protocol.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists This would be a strong signal that the WTO is developing its surveillance functions in this area. One possibility may be to aim for a “standstill” arrangement so that existing levels of subsidies would not be increased pending an agreement.

One might recall Winston Churchill’s frequently uttered response to repeated adversity – “we must just keep buggering on” (which he often shortened to the acronym “KBO”). In any case. to convince sceptical outsiders that the organisation is as functional as it should be. the idea would be to activate the mechanism foreseen in the second sentence of paragraph 47 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration1.” 57 . it would be a positive contribution and a sign that Doha has not sunk. Even if the eventual list were modest. the conduct. While the non-negotiating functions of the WTO – usually described as dispute settlement and monitoring/surveillance – are in reasonably good shape. they are not sufficient in current circumstances. especially given the state of the Round. As regards the remaining issues – the great bulk of the Doha negotiations – members should once again recommit themselves to completion of the agenda as soon as possible. it is preferable to other alternatives such as formal suspension or attempting a fundamental reconfiguration. that is likely to be when the global economic and political climate is more conducive. In practice. Early agreements shall be taken into account in assessing the overall balance of the negotiations.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis What to call the deliverables and what to do with the rest Whether WTO members should have the gall to characterise any such agreements as “early harvest” is another question. However. the WTO should not stop with a repairand-wait strategy. in my view. If in 2012 (and possibly 2013) Doha is going to assume a lower profile. which could result in a complete unravelling. Moving the WTO forward while Doha is waiting for a high tide Over the coming weeks and months. While this might provoke yawns in some quarters. the opportunity should be taken to exploit some of the other strengths of the WTO that have fallen out 1 Paragraph 47 reads: “With the exception of the improvements and clarifications of the Dispute Settlement Understanding. agreements reached at an early stage may be implemented on a provisional or a definitive basis. conclusion and entry into force of the outcome of the negotiations shall be treated as parts of a single undertaking.

critics who argue that the WTO is locked in an outdated agenda and not addressing new areas of concern. These bodies were relatively vibrant in the period 1995 to 2000. In others. There are numerous other candidates for similar treatment. some controversial perhaps but others less so. for example.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists of the limelight in recent years. but others are no longer being as fully exploited. VoxEU. What has happened to the work programme on e-commerce? Discussion of current issues in the regular machinery might in some cases lead nowhere. debt and finance on the relationship between trade and exchange rates. 10 May. it could lead to some strategic thinking about the future shape of the multilateral trading system and prepare the ground for further developments. it does not seem to be necessary to abandon the good ship Doha in order to start moving forward into as yet uncharted waters. References Singh Bhatia. This might also offer an avenue to answer. Conclusion To summarise. Ujal (2011). “Salvaging Doha”. to some extent. Could relevant WTO bodies discuss some of the supplychain issues frequently mentioned by businessmen? That might offer a welcome means of reconnecting the WTO with the business community. and the agriculture committee’s discussions of food security. agree to reinvigorate and give higher priority to the deliberations of the regular councils and committees. Why should some of these “new” issues not be discussed in the regular (non-negotiating) machinery? This is already beginning to happen to some extent – for example the recent discussion in the working group on trade. The Trade Policies Review Mechanism might also be overhauled. Members could. Some still are. 58 .org.

He subsequently served as the first chairman of the agriculture negotiations.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis About the author Stuart Harbinson is Senior Trade Policy Adviser at Sidley Austin LLP’s Geneva office. overseeing preparations for the Doha Ministerial Conference. Supachai Panitchpakdi from 2002 to 2005 and Special Adviser to Director-General Pascal Lamy from 2005 to 2007. Mr. When Permanent Representative of Hong Kong. 59 . and Hong Kong Government. World Trade Organization. Harbinson chaired the General Council in 2001-2002. He joined Sidley Austin after gaining extensive trade policy experience in several high-level positions in the United Nations. China to the WTO. He was Chief of Staff to Director-General Dr.


Keeping the WTO on track: A Doha down payment plus more Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett Graduate Institute. University of St Gallen and CEPR After 10 years of much progress and much frustration with the Doha Round. nor is there much appetite for suspending the Round. Getting the WTO past the Doha crisis After talking with ambassadors and senior officials from a wide range of delegations in Geneva. 61 . Carrying on with business as usual is no longer an option – the impasse that has emerged cannot be solved with a few more negotiating sessions. iii) commencement of a WTO work programme on 21st-century trade issues. and a few from national capitals. and iv) a bold initiative by middle power WTO members to try to unblock the talks. ii) an understanding of how to reorganise continuing talks on the most contentious issues. we pulled together the elements of a plan that might suggest a way forward. This essay argues that success would require four things implemented simultaneously: i) a Doha down-payment package agreed this year. it is time to find a new approach to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion. World leaders are in a bind over the Doha Round. The plan has four dimensions. Abandoning the Round has been ruled out by almost all WTO members. Geneva and CEPR. This quandary has trade ministers and diplomats casting around for creative solutions.

or the “Doha down payment. • An agreement to reduce distortions in cotton to the benefit of least developed nations. the WTO could have something to show for its 10 years of work. quota-free treatment for least developed nations. it would be a wise. There would also be great merit. Although these agreements would not constitute a major economic breakthrough. however. We have not been at the cutting face of the negotiations. The other essays in this eBook discuss the possible items that might be included in a Doha down payment. 62 . Canvassing opinions in Geneva. What to do for the December 2011 ministerial meeting While finishing Doha this year is impossible. that it is forum where things can get done. The nature of the package is dictated primarily by practicality – we can think of including only those items where agreement is already close. political response to the Doha crisis. This progress could be locked in. • A waiver that allows WTO members to provide preferential access to services trade from least developed nations.” The long-scheduled meeting of trade ministers for 15-17 December 2011 provides a natural focal point for finalising these results.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists 1. A small package or set of stand-alone agreements could be finalised this year – what some call “early harvest” results and others call “Doha deliverables”. the most likely items seem to be: • An accord on duty-free. so we cannot form an independent judgement of what is practical. It would demonstrate that the WTO is alive. to focusing on issues that benefit the world’s poorest countries. The failure of the largest trading nations to find a compromise that suits them shouldn’t be allowed to hold up sensible progress for the least developed nations. both politically and economically.

Efforts by the Big 5 – as they are sometimes called – failed to find a compromise among themselves. But the principal negotiating processes used to date haven’t worked. Those most often mentioned include a standstill agreement on fisheries subsidies. A vast range of economic interests are still counting on the Round to deliver major progress on market access for industrial goods. there will have to be an agreement to continue negotiations on the core issues. 63 . reducing barriers to imports stemming from excessive red-tape barriers in customs. certain aspects of the less controversial rules negotiations. but one thing is clear – not all trade-offs were explored. What to do with the rest of the Doha agenda The small package that might be ready for December 2011 would not solve the WTO’s first order negotiating challenge. antidumping rules. Here are some elements that resonated with many WTO members with whom we spoke. 2. • Agreement on a monitoring mechanism for special and differential treatment. i. In particular. If we are to maintain a semblance of cohesion among WTO members. and other non-trade-policy impedances to trade. and • An agreement on certain non-tariff barriers such as the Horizontal Mechanism and textile labelling. There are many explanations for this failure. Other issues may ultimately prove tractable or necessary to provide balance.e. and services. This suggests that the December 2011 meeting could reorganise the process in a way that is more likely to bear fruit. and export subsidies. • Agreement to make permanent the RTA Transparency Mechanism that has been operating successfully for years. Trade-offs with other areas (services. the process has this year fixated very much on trade-offs within industrial goods liberalisation (NAMA). agricultural products. inferior port infrastructure.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis • A package of measures that promote ‘trade facilitation’. and others) weren’t considered.

but now it is clear to all. All areas should be on the table without a priori sequencing. As nations know better where they themselves will apply the flexibility. For example. for example) the negotiations should be horizontal.” The original sequencing of the talks – known in WTO-ese as modalities – has not worked. we have a situation where nations know what they are conceding on tariffs. but they don’t know what their exporters will be getting in exchange. This is one of the things the December ministerial meeting could decide. • Forget “modalities. This would unleash a process of real negotiations. and services). No government can be expected to agree to formulae and other elements without knowing the full impact of such an understanding. 64 . This suggests that an essential question will be the choice of the conductor (more on this below). by common agreement.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists • Have a real negotiation under multilateral control with a “conductor” acting as an impartial player with responsibility of assisting members to reach agreement. Only when countries bring their national tariff schedules to the bargaining table will we know what the formulae will actually mean tariff line by tariff line – the level that ultimately interests business. 1 The idea that first there would be an agreement on the levels of ambition in agriculture and NAMA. Thus a package can be built with trade-offs across the board. agricultural products. nations get to choose a limited number of products to exclude from tariff cutting. Except for some issues in particular areas where useful work can still be done regardless of results in other areas (fisheries subsidies. It could set a date for the submission of schedules (for industrial goods. with this conditioning discussions on sectorals and the remaining areas. • The negotiations must be horizontal.1 Perhaps this should have been obvious from the start.

during the global economics crisis. For most WTO members. Keeping the WTO relevant to 21st-century trade issues Members should look beyond the 10-year-old Doha agenda and agree to a work program to begin a discussion and analysis (not necessarily a negotiation) of other issues relevant to today’s economic relations. What momentum exists comes from a decade of negotiation groups working in silos. a pro-trade policy requires a pro-foreign-investment policy. The demand for mutually advantageous disciplines can be seen by the popularity of investment measures that are covered in 21st-century free trade agreements. but internationalisation of supply chains has greatly strengthened the link. For example. Ask any developing country farmer who has had to bargain with large foreign supermarkets or has had to pay extortionate prices for its produce to be transported to the local port or airport. One part of this that would be critical to keeping the process in some sort of order would be to grant a sort of “conductor’s role” to the WTO DirectorGeneral in his role as chair of the Trade Negotiations Committee. Indeed. 65 . This momentum needs to be redirected by a ministerial decision. but it did not work. these went up even among members of the EU. Frequently these include investment chapters guaranteeing national treatment and most-favourednation treatment on a reciprocal basis. • Competition policy Now more than ever there is a greater appreciation of the harm that exercising monopoly power can have on international trade and developing countries. many countries set up protectionist measures on investment. Some of these could be: • Investment Trade and investment have long been linked. 3. This has blurred the line between what is a trade policy and what is a domestic or investment policy. It was a good idea to try to let the Big 5 find their way to an accord.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis These changes need to be made explicit.

As these can lead to a classic ‘prisoners’ dilemma”. but multilateral disciplines would be useful to prevent their application from leading to unintended consequences. The 21st century. and regulations are part of these plans. they are naturally suited for WTO-like disciplines that help maintain a win-win situation in the face of unilateral incentive to undermine cooperation. subsidies. 66 . Is there a need to devise special disciplines and increase transparency? Is there a need to define acceptable limits or complementary policies? • Export restrictions and duties Whether on food. or other goods. the point would not be to ban such restrictions. however. They may be necessary and indeed useful in certain circumstances. and this brings them potentially into conflict with WTO rules that were designed without climate-linked policies in mind. The spread of competition law enforcement around the globe has put in place one building block. the present disciplines are quite weak as the GATT/WTO rules were written in an era where imports (exports) were almost universally viewed as a political bad (good). Nations are thus pursuing uncoordinated national policies aimed at climate-change mitigation and adoption. Rules on export restrictions simply weren’t necessary. now the challenge is to develop international collaboration between enforcement agencies to tackle specific cases of anti-competitive conduct.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists Access to foreign markets is impaired as well as the gains from globalisation compromised by anti-competitive practices. Taxes. raw materials. has witnessed frequent imposition of such measures. WTO members could usefully address the question of whether the present rules are sufficient and/or appropriate to meet this 21st-century policy challenge. Just as with tariffs. • Climate change Attempts to arrive at multilateral agreements on climate-change policies failed last year.

procurement is frequently the subject of ambitious free trade agreements. such as the Agreement on Safeguards. There may be many reasons for this. signed in 1994. The Big 5 gave up trying to work 67 . • Government Procurement Agreement Governments buy a very large slice of the world’s goods and services. could probably due with an updating.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis • Revisit some of the WTO Agreements The world of trade has changed radically since the WTO Agreements were struck in 1994. 4. Indeed. but the fact is not in dispute. Since then. • Institutional reform The Marrakesh Agreement. there is an increasing realisation that open procurement is beneficial to taxpayers by lowering costs and to consumers by boosting competition and quality. the world of trade has shifted radically – most obviously in terms of the trade weight of some developing nations but also in terms of how the internationalisation of supply chains has blurred the distinction between trade policies and domestic policies. A bold initiative from the middle powers This is a round where the biggest players failed to provide leadership. The suggestion here is to discuss ways of improving this. perhaps leveraging new information technology. Now they are based on notifications by members with the result that they are very often incomplete and late. Some. Moreover. • Enhanced transparency Current transparency practices could certainly be improved to the benefit of all. All this suggests that revisiting the market access provisions of the Government Procurement Agreement in future negotiations might produce mutual gains for a wide range of WTO members. was the last time the organisation’s structure was examined in its entirety. This suggests that a cooperative and construction evaluation might reveal improves that could attract widespread support.

While middle powers cannot realistically expect much from “holding out” for bigger concessions. Not to mention that a welcome injection of competitive pressure would keep producers and traders in the middle powers on their toes. This failure. One idea that could help unblock the broader talks is a bold unilateral move by the middle trading powers.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists out a compromise (although at the last minute. a simultaneous set of unilateral moves by this group could generate commercial opportunities that influential business lobbies would notice. The middle trading powers could. bind at the applied level. injecting a further liberalising dynamic. These WTO members have often been a source of terrific ideas in the past. If a tariff line is unbound. • Table improved offers on services that reflect unilateral liberalisation undertaken to date. • Freeze all harmful fisheries subsidies and offer to reduce them by 10% in the first year provided a critical mass of members do the same. even if the application of a formula doesn’t go below the bound level. the EU made an unsuccessful attempt to find an approach to bridge one of the gaps). • Offer to bind 100% of tariff lines on NAMA. • Implement trade facilitation even before it becomes a legal obligation. 68 . perhaps reinforced by a lack of trust among the biggest players. for example: • Offer to bind their tariffs at the applied level. • Offer some additional restraints on the use of flexibilities presently available in the Agriculture and NAMA draft modalities. this time around they might demonstrate their additional commitment to the multilateral trading system precisely when so many commentators and business interests appear to have discounted the WTO. created a vacuum. Such a bold step could encourage other WTO members to follow suit.

it is time for a new approach to bringing negotiations to a successful conclusion. • Provide duty-free. About the authors Richard Baldwin is Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute. it would build confidence. He was Co-managing Editor of the journal Economic Policy from 2000 to 2005. • Offer tariff concessions on environmental goods. Before that he was a Senior Staff Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisors in the Bush Administration (1990-1991). Such “a Doha down payment” would demonstrate that the WTO can deliver. doing so in a way that enhances the contemporary relevance of the WTO. and Editor-in-Chief of Vox since he founded it in June 2007. and Programme Director of CEPR’s International Trade programme from 1991 to 2001. quota-free treatment for 100% of products for least developed countries with flexible rules of origin. Should further momentum develop. on 69 . no doubt other initiatives could be taken on board. partly through reflection a renewed WTO would emerge as this process unfolded over time. Such an approach – like the others described by contributors to this eBook – imply that the current impasse is not inevitable. Geneva since 1991.Next Steps: Getting Past the Doha Round Crisis • Implement improvements in transparency obligations under the Antidumping and the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreements. Here we have outlined a four-part approach. Policy Director of CEPR since 2006. Partly through action. Concluding remarks After 10 years of much progress and frustration with the DDA programme. which WTO members could take up over the summer of 2011 and have tangible results to show for the WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2011. Work on many other items – including the remaining elements of the DDA – would go beyond that time.

national competition law and policy. OECD. He was visiting professor at MIT in 2002/03 and has taught at universities in Italy. and served twice as a World Bank official. EFTA. 70 . He was a nonresident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution in Washington. The author of numerous books and articles. Germany and Norway. and was Member of the the Zedillo Committee on the Global Trade and Financial Architecture.D. and economic development. and European integration.VOX Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists leave from Columbia University Business School where he was Associate Professor. regionalism. the European Commission. Evenett is Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Switzerland. He is a CEPR Research Fellow. Evenett taught previously at Oxford and Rutgers University. in Economics from Yale University. Simon J. Member of the Warwick Commission on the Future of the Multilateral Trading System After Doha. In addition to his research into the determinants of international commercial flows. He is Member of the High Level Group on Globalisation established by the French Trade Minister Christine LaGarde. He has also worked as consultant for the numerous governments. globalisation. World Bank. his research interests include international trade. and Co-Director of the CEPR Programme in International Trade and Regional Economics. and USAID. he is particularly interested in the relationships between international trade policy. He did his PhD in economics at MIT with Paul Krugman. Gallen. He obtained his Ph.

The Doha Round confronts world leaders with a dilemma. This VoxEU eBook aims to inform options for resolving the dilemma by gathering the views of some of the world’s most experienced Doha experts.cepr. They identify the 3 ways past the crisis: • • • Road 1: Declare failure and call for a period of . and Hong Kong’s former WTO Ambassador Stuart Harbinson – all of whom spent years at the “cutting face” of Doha negotiations. Concluding the Round this year is impossible. There is also strong opposition to suspending the Round as suspension is widely seen as a roundabout means of killing it. or Road 3: Think creatively about work-around solutions that avoid acrimony and lock in some of the progress to date. China’s former WTO Ambassador Zenyu Sun. Road 2: Buy time by suspending the Round. London EC1V 3PZ Tel: +44 (0)20 7183 8801 Fax: +44 (0)20 7183 8820 Email: cepr@cepr. Canada’s former WTO Ambassador John Weekes. Contributors include former US Trade Representative Susan Schwab. Centre for Economic Policy Research 77 Bastwick www. but there is strong opposition to terminating the Round. The contributors disagree on the best way forward but all believe that Road 3 is the one worth trying first. India’s former WTO Ambassador Ujal Singh Bhatia.

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