Doha Update

The World Bank will soon be issuing its Global Economic Prospects 2004: Realizing the Development Promise of the Doha Agenda report, which deals mostly with issues relating to trade. Fortunately for those who, like me, can’t wait to see what’s in the report, some website I’ve never heard of has advance details:

Under the scenario, the World Bank recommends that rich countries should cut tariffs to 10 per cent in agriculture and five per cent in manufacturing while developing countries could reciprocate with tariff cuts to 15 per cent and 10 per cent in agriculture and manufacturing respectively.

Similarly, the bank implores all countries to eliminate agricultural export subsidies, ‘decouple’ domestic subsidies to minimize the trade distortions and eliminate specific tariffs, quota and anti-dumping duties.

The formula, according to the World Bank, “generates gains which amount to about three quarters of those might be possible through full trade liberalization.”

The bank expressed optimism that, if the afore-stated “reforms were implemented progressively over five years to 2010 and accompanied by a realistic productivity response, developing countries would gain nearly $350 billion in additional income by 2015, and rich countries benefit in the order of $170 billion” adding, “there would be 144 million fewer people living below $2 per day by 2015.”


For instance, the GEP 2004 noted, Industrialized countries will benefit by cutting protection and agricultural subsidies, most of which go to large farmers who already make more than the average family in the EU, Japan and US.

“These measures cost the average family in these regions roughly $1,000 a year. Slashing agricultural protection would result in cheaper food and labour-intensive manufactures for consumers in those countries. At the same time it would help raise the incomes of poor farmers in developing countries. In return, rich countries might get greater access to still-protected services markets in middle-income countries,” it stated.