Doha is back on track
Following up on Thursday’s post, WTO negotiators have announced a successful “July package” that lays the groundworks for cobbling a successful trade deal. Lisa Schlein has a story for Voice of America: Delegates to the World Trade Organization have agreed to a deal, which experts say will boost world economic growth by liberalizing world trade. ...
Following up on Thursday's post, WTO negotiators have announced a successful "July package" that lays the groundworks for cobbling a successful trade deal. Lisa Schlein has a story for Voice of America:
Following up on Thursday’s post, WTO negotiators have announced a successful “July package” that lays the groundworks for cobbling a successful trade deal. Lisa Schlein has a story for Voice of America:
Delegates to the World Trade Organization have agreed to a deal, which experts say will boost world economic growth by liberalizing world trade. The agreement restarts stalled free trade talks, known as the Doha Development Round, which collapsed last September at a meeting in Cancun, Mexico. After a week of marathon talks, the World Trade Organization’s 147 members approved the agreement by consensus, marking what WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi calls an historical moment for the organization. He says the framework agreement will lead toward the elimination of export subsidies, a reduction in domestic subsidies and will produce gains in market access…. West African countries achieved a breakthrough in their demands that rich countries stop subsidizing their cotton farmers. Under the agreement, the United States and other nations have decided that cotton subsidies be treated on a separate fast track. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick says he is pleased with the outcome of this negotiation…. Chief negotiators at the World Trade Organization say they hope they will be able to conclude the round of trade talks by December 2005, when the next ministerial takes place in Hong Kong.
As this WTO press release points out, this pushes the deadline back from the original January 2005 deadline, but that’s to be expected. The WTO Secretary-General is clearly pleased:
Dr. Supachai predicted that the progress now made in agriculture, non-agricultural market access, development issues and trade facilitation would provide substantial momentum to WTO members’ work in other important areas such as rules, services, environment, reform of dispute procedures and intellectual property protection. “I fully expect that when negotiators return in September negotiations in these areas and all others will recommence with a high degree of enthusiasm,” he said. WTO members can now put behind them the deadlock 10 months earlier at the Cancún ministerial conference, he said.
[C’mon, it’s a froggin’ press release — of course he’s going to be upbeat!–ed. Actually, it’s been my experience that compared to other international governmental organizations, the WTO press material is remarkably free of spin or artifice.] You can take a gander at the text of the recent agreement by clicking here. The contrast between the Bush administration’s positive contributions to this step foward on trade and Kerry’s praise of the “fair trade” shibboleth, does alter one of the four key factors in my voting decision come November. So, my probability of voting for Kerry has been lowered from .54 to .50. UPDATE: Robert Tagorda provides plenty of links, including this New York Times story and the Kerry campaign’s fatuous press release on the matter. From the latter, this part was particularly inane:
Exports Are Down Under President Bush – The First President Since Herbert Hoover. Exports have fallen in inflation-adjusted terms under President Bush – the first drop under any President since Herbert Hoover. In contrast, most post-World War II Presidential terms have seen 15 to 30 percent real export growth. Bush Called Job Protection Measures a “Barrier.” In a speech to the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century Forum, George Bush defended the outsourcing of jobs overseas. Bush said, “We cannot expect to sell our goods and services, and create jobs, if America and our partners, trading partners, start raising barriers and closing off markets.”
The first point is a non sequitur, since it has little to do with the Bush administration. Exports are largely a function of other countries’ aggregate demand and the exchange rate. Under Bush, the dollar has depreciated in value. What’s depressed exports has been the sclerotic growth of our major trading partners, not some failure of the Bush administration. As to the second point, I look forward to hearing the Kerry economic team argue that, “We can expect to sell our goods and services, and create jobs, if America and our partners, trading partners, start raising barriers and closing off markets.” In contrast, USTR head Bob Zoellick said the following in his press release:
President Bush confounded conventional wisdom by empowering me and my Administration colleagues to make trade success a priority, even in an election year, because he believes open markets build stronger economies and help create jobs in the United States and opportunity around the world.
Here’s a useful USTR fact sheet as well. This does not excuse the myriad examples of protectionism committed by this administration — but the past week has seen some substantive pluses for the Bush team and some rhetorical minuses for the Kerry team on trade.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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