ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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End of the 'Development' Round

The WTO's Doha round has not yet been abandoned but it is time to bury the sham of a 'Development' agenda.

If there is one message that the failed mini-ministerial of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) sends out it is that the claim of a “Doha Development Agenda” for the seven-year-old round of trade negotiations must at least now be buried.

The WTO director general Pascal Lamy convened the event ostensibly to finalise the modalities (benchmarks) in the two areas of agriculture and market access for industrial goods of the Doha round. An agreement on the benchmarks is essential since it will prescribe the level of tariff and subsidy cuts for farm products and the tariff reduction commitments for industrial goods (“NAMA”) for WTO members. All the other elements of the detailed agenda of the Doha round were put in abeyance. Notwithstanding that the current round is a “single undertaking”, which means that nothing is decided until everything is agreed to, the WTO director general adopted this controversial route to satisfy Washington.

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