The WTO Doha Development Round: Where next for world trade?

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Series Details No.43/06 (September 2006)
Publication Date September 2006
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The World Trade Organisation launched a new round of trade talks at Doha, Qatar in November 2001. The new ‘Doha Round’ was billed as a development round which would focus on the needs of developing countries. Initially intended to be completed by the end of 2004, the talks progressed slowly, stricken by disagreements, in particular over agriculture.

In 2006 there were repeated attempts to reach a broad agreement that would allow the Round to be completed by mid-2007. This deadline was due to the expiry of the authority of the US president to negotiate trade deals and get them passed by Congress without
amendment. However, the stalemate between the US, the EU and key developing countries could not be resolved. The Round was then suspended at the end of July 2006.

It is not clear when, or whether, the talks will resume. If this does not happen in the next six months or so, the Round could remain frozen until 2009. This paper summarises: the Round’s launch and progress in almost five years of negotiations; prospects for resumption; and possible consequences of long-term suspension – or collapse – of the Round.

Appendices give an outline of key issues in main areas, and signposts to further useful resources.

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