Final collapse of WTO Doha talks

The Center for Economic Policy and Research reports that:

Despite trade ministers’ hopes for a last-minute deal, World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations collapsed yet again today, and observers at the talks in Geneva say that the failure is not surprising, given the reluctance of India and other developing nations to sacrifice food security measures in the wake of the recent global spike in food prices.

Given President Bush’s lame duck status, negotiators had been called to Geneva to try to push through a last-minute deal before Bush left office. Because negotiators need about six months after a deal on the major issues to complete the details of the agreement, this possibility has now evaporated.

“Given what’s been on the table, no deal is better than a bad deal. A Doha conclusion would have had major negative impacts for workers and farmers in developing countries. The tariff cuts demanded of developing countries would have caused massive job loss, and countries would have lost the ability to protect farmers from dumping, further impoverishing millions on the verge of survival,” said Deborah James, Director of International Programs for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, who has been observing the talks in Geneva.

[1] Kevin P. Gallagher and Timothy A. Wise, Back to the Drawing Board: No Basis for Concluding the Doha Round of Negotiations. Research and Information System for Developing Countries Issue Brief. No. 36, April 2008.
[2] Sandra Polaski, Winners and Losers: Impact of the Doha Round on Developing Countries. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2006.

No surprises there as the use of bi-lateral agreements increases.

Update: Dani Rodrik at Carnegie writes a nice summary and background.