After the Doha Débâcle: What Next for the Global Trade System?

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Series Details September 2008
Publication Date 2008
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Key points of the Paper:

The troubled history of the Doha trade talks, which suffered their latest breakdown in July 2008, is due to more than differences between members' negotiating positions. It is a symptom of deeper institutional problems in the WTO, as it struggles to adjust to global economic change.

At stake are not only prospects for a further push to open world markets, but the primacy of the WTO as the maker and enforcer of the multilateral rules that underpin the international economic order.

Although reforms of WTO procedures may be desirable, they will not be enough to restore momentum. WTO members need also to develop a new model of leadership, define a clearer mission for the organization and pursue domestic policies that buttress its role.

It is unclear whether governments possess the political energy or commitment required to undertake that effort. But continued drift risks weakening the organization and could, in the longer term, undermine the integrity of the rules-based trade system.

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