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Whither Doha?

Posted by Yvonne Siu on November 17th, 2006

Charlotte Hebebrand, chief executive of IPC, contributes the following post:

Kicking off the IPC blog, I would like to bring your attention to a think piece, titled “Doha Suspension,” summarizing the discussion among IPC members on the present state of affairs in the Doha Round.

From the paper:

“Focusing therefore on the agricultural negotiations, this paper briefly sets forth the areas of agreement that have been reached in the Doha Negotiations as well as the areas where agreement proved elusive. We then analyze the commitments made to date, ask whether these are sufficient for concluding the Round and point the way towards some additional steps that would further improve the outcome of the Round. There is general consensus that agreement reached to date on export competition is quite significant. There are more divergent views on the significance of progress made to date on domestic support. Divergences of opinion are arguably the greatest in the market access arena.”

IPC members- strong proponents of the multilateral trading system-are of course disappointed with the suspension of the Doha Round and hope for a swift resumption and conclusion of the talks as stressed during our meeting in Washington, DC, in fall 2007. There is a debate among the group on the “level of ambition” of the current round of trade talks- with some arguing that WTO rounds are by their very nature evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Others, however, believe strongly that more progress in particular on market access needs to occur.



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Reader Comments

The “zero for zero” approach is alright, however on the condition that it pivots on zero hunger, and is aimed at trade, and not so much on aid.

So it would be good for international policy if the US Commodity Credit Corporation and the EU Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund be encouraged by their governments to join the inter-governmental Common Fund for Commodities as institutional members, and with the help of private corporations, including banks, create derivative-based long term commodity credit for all the world’s farmers aimed at zero hunger through payment terms for northern agricultural surpluses.

This will make industrialization of poorer countries easier, including processing of their own commodity production and exportation on credit terms. These private sector derivative credit capital market developments could be integrated into the G8 debt relief programmes to acclerate them. It seems that the Mediterranean region offers practical opportunities for direct applications of such policies in real goodwill.