By Max Clarke
The Doha Round will die unless global political leaders demonstrate their commitment in the coming months, a joint report drafted by the UK, German, Turkish and Indonesian Trade Experts Group has stated.
“The message of this report is that the Doha Round of talks is facing imminent failure," said Peter Sutherland, co-chair of the High-Level Trade Experts Group.
"Ten years of negotiations has brought a wide ranging package of trade agreements within reach, but without urgent action the prize a conclusion would bring will be lost for all nations.
Set up in 2001 under the World Trade Organisation in Qatar's capital, the Doha Round refers to a series of agreements intended to foster trade and remove protective national barriers to free trade.
Peter Sutherland and Pr Jagdish Bhagwati co-chaired the Experts Group. They were asked to consider the actions needed to combat protectionism and to boost global trade. They believe that ten years of negotiations for the Doha Round have produced the most substantial package of trade liberalisation ever put within reach — and call on national leaders to break the current stalemate and seize this opportunity.
The report, entitled “World Trade and the Doha Round” argues that the failure of the Doha Round would not only impact on trade, but also on economic confidence, and more widely on stability and global governance. They call specifically on the US and China to help progress the deadlocked negotiations and argue that the concessions that need to be made are relatively small in size and involve limited political pain.
“The benefits to be reaped go way beyond the most ambitious liberalisation package ever negotiated and would deliver a huge step forward for global governance, stability and the rule of law. As a group, today we call upon all political leaders to make their contribution now to achieve this deal as there will be no more second chances.”
The report states that open trade promotes the economic growth that has helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty since the Second World War and continues to play a key role today. The authors argue that a resolution would deliver a boost of £110 billion per year to the global economy.
“We thank the Trade Experts Group for their excellent work. The report makes a compelling case for concluding the Doha Round and highlights the need for real political leadership if we are to complete a deal this year. The UK Government recognises that 2011 is the make or break year and will continue to work with its international partners to complete a deal.”