If you only read one thing this week…

Lost in the news cycle, world trade talks collapse. Why should we care? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
August 3, 2006, 1:00 am
Filed under: Articles, Development theory, If you only have 15 mins

As the middle east continues to dominate the news, the collapse of the World Trade Organization‘s Doha Round last week in Geneva should not slip off the page. This is complicated stuff, without clear good and bad guys, but it’s pretty important to the future of development and trade.

Initially slated to begin in Seattle in 1999, the talks began in 2001 in Doha after severe protests led to delays. The purpose was to agree on the Doha Development Agenda (an attempt to liberalize trade in ways which might help the poor, although Friends of the Earth, among others, say that it would make matters worse), and from there negotiate opening agricultural and manufacturing markets. The intent of the round was to make trade rules fairer for developing countries.

Oxfam, in their press release says “The Doha round has opened people’s eyes to the fact that world trade could help millions of poor farmers and workers, but rich country farm policies are working directly against that“. The New York Times is a little more circumspect, with an article on who the winners and losers of this round are likely to be, and a follow up article pointing the finger at farm lobbies in the developed world.

The Guardian’s John Hilary is more strident, saying that “The World Trade Organisation is unfit to address the needs of the world’s poor. There should be no attempt to resuscitate the current global trade talks.”, while the BBC has a nice Q&A on the issues.


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