Monthly Archives: September 2009

Will the G-20 save Doha?

Probably not. The discount on this, the lastest of their promises, is deservedly steep according to the Global Trade Alert website.

It’s not a problem of mendacity or lack of ‘political courage’. There is simply no consensus on the liberalizing mandate of Doha among this group; we’ve tested that proposition to exhaustion in the past eight years. The G20 is effectively the same group that has been managing the WTO negotiations since early 2004, when the negotiations resumed after the Cancún collapse. To believe that these 20 Chefs could now confect a banquet from the ‘trash pile’ of the Agriculture and NAMA negotiating texts would be to believe that heads of government have been ‘holding out‘ on their trade ministers all this time.

Although I doubt this Group can progress Doha, other groups or coalitions will very likely be the basis of future multilateral frameworks to open markets for goods and services. Future agreements will encourage different sub-sets of the WTO’s membership to pursue their own objectives without the constraint of WTO’s one-rule-for-all.