Monday, August 02, 2004

DON'T CRY FOR ME, DOHA


Yes, Doh is a bum deal for poor countries who must trade away much of their autonomy in all kinds of policymaking in order to get some crumbs from the rich countries. Nothing I haven't said before, but now I've said it in the Letters page of the Financial Times. I always thought it was a little cheeky to tout letters to the editor, but then I saw even some tenured economics professors include them on their CVs. So why not? You need a subscription to see it on FT.com, so I have reproduced it here (thank you, Nexis):

Financial Times (London, England)

July 30, 2004 Friday
USA Edition 2

SECTION: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR; Pg. 12

LENGTH: 201 words

HEADLINE: Even with Doha deal poor nations may gain little

BYLINE: By ADAM S HERSH

BODY:

Sir, Martin Wolf frets over the possibility of another World Trade Organisation failure ("A failure in Geneva would be a disaster for the world", July 28), not least for its impact on the world's poor.

Fear not. Even the rosiest estimates show small gains from the Doha round for poor countries. One World Bank study, for example, predicts Sierra Leone's per capita income would rise to Dollars 592 a year by 2015 with Doha - compared with Dollars 583 without. Reality tends to be less fantastic than abstract economic models. In the real world, many proposed WTO rules on the rich countries' wish-list threaten to reduce incomes in poor countries: raising costs for critical medicines, retarding the dissemination of new technologies and eroding their special access to markets.

Mr Wolf himself notes that most of the anticipated gains stem from poor countries' unilateral trade liberalisation, a path that would allow developing countries to eschew rules that "intrude deeply" in their domestic politics. Doha or not, this path always remains open for countries to pursue through their own independent democratic processes.

Globalize This!, Washington, DC

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