Tuesday, July 20, 2004

DOHA STILL GOING NO WHERE


Despite the WTO's and the US's strong arm tactics, the Doha Round of trade negotiations is still going nowhere.

Supachai Panitchpakdi, the still neophyte Director General of the WTO is rattling sabers in the FT this morning:

"The future of the DDA [Doha Development Agenda], where agreement can help lift living standards around the world, will be determined by what we do here in the next two weeks."

Not exactly. Even the most rose tinted analyses point to slim to no benefits from the Doha Round. The World Bank predicts that, e.g., Sierra Leone's per capita GDP would blossom to a whopping $592 by 2015 thanks to the Doha Round. Oh, but without Doha, it would be $583 in 2015. All this fuss for $9 each? Hell, the rich countries and the WTO could just give $9 to every Sierra Leonian rather than spending all this money shipping trade ministers around the world to convene in luxurious ballrooms and stay in five star hotel suites.

Many provisions of the Doha Round that the developed countries are pushing, say a provision for developing countries to concede to rich country technological monopolies, would actually lower incomes in the global South.

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