World Trade Review

Snipings

Polly wants a Doha deal: what does the trade community think?

PATRICK MESSERLIN and ERIK VAN DER MAREL

After ten years of negotiations, the Doha ‘Round is on the verge of collapse. At this difficult juncture, it is interesting to get a sense of the mood and thinking of the trade community on three key questions:

  • 1. How serious is the situation?
  • 2. What are the causes of the current stalemate?
  • 3. What are the best solution(s)
Two recent fora give an opportunity to analyze the answers of 71 observers to these questions at a crucial time, namely the month preceding the collapse of expectations that Doha might be completed by the end of 2011 (from April 1 to May 2, 2011). The CUTS Trade Forum (2011) triggered by Jagdish Bhagwati's op.ed. ‘Polly Wants a Doha Deal’ offered an open discussion forum where the 57 self-selected respondents could make their remarks with no pre-established format. The VoxEU (2011) e-book ‘Why World Leaders Must Resist the False Promise of a Doha Delay’ gathered short chapters written by 14 authors chosen by the e-book editors and willing to contribute. The respondents (all of them with a long experience in trade matters) include academics (25), former and current negotiators (9), lawyers (4), journalists (3), business (3), national civil servants (2) and trade policy experts (25 in total, of whom six are working in international institutions and nine in think tanks). Participants came from all continents: Africa (1), Asia (6), Europe (23), North America (15), Latin America (6), with a few countries particularly well represented (11 from the USA, 4 from Canada, 3 from Australia). The 17 respondents based in Geneva represent a wide range of nationalities.

(Online publication October 17 2011)