A Long Term View on the Doha Round and the WTO
The absence of clear signs from the trade negotiators in Geneva does not bode well for a rapid conclusion of the Doha Round. Moreover, the possibility of a hasty conclusion puts into question the quality of any final agreement. It is time for reflection, and therefore this paper aims to step back and focus on what has been happening - and what could happen - from a longer term perspective.
Section 1 focuses on the past: its misperceptions and its constraints. Section 2 argues that the current view on preferential trade agreements (PTAs) is too optimistic, both in economic and diplomatic terms. Section 3 focuses on the key elements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiating process, i.e., the balance between the liberalization (tariff cuts) formula and the formula specifying the exceptions to tariff cuts. Section 4 then examines the whole WTO negotiating process, and argues for some much needed "flexi-plining."