Stiglitz on Doha round

The Commonwealth Secretariat has commissioned former Clinton Council of Economic Advisers member and World Bank Chief Economist (and Nobel prize winner) Joe Stiglitz to review the development content of the so-called “Doha Development Agenda”. bq. Our report comes down soundly on the side of the developing countries. Recent negotiations have not only failed to push an agenda that would promote development; they have included a host of issues of tangential interest, or even detrimental, to developing countries. (“allAfrica.com”:http://allafrica.com/stories/200406220132.html)

The origin of the name of the Doha round of WTO negotiations is a matter of controversy. It’s little more than a publicity stunt, and a slightly patronizing one at that. The WTO agreements don’t provide a recipe for development and never will. The WTO is mostly about resolving conflicts and minimizing the negative external consequences of economic policies: so its agenda is inevitably determined by the concerns of the most powerful trading economies. To the extent that negotiating rounds promote trade liberalization they work in the right direction for growth. But goverments should by now have in their economic management toolkit a whole raft of policy options—multilateral trade liberalization only one among them—that serve the very complex goals of economic development. A copy of the “report(pdf file about 400k)”:http://www.thecommonwealth.org/shared_asp_files/uploadedfiles/_StiglitzPaperComsec.pdf is available from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

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