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Life without Doha

BRASILIA – In a recent commentary, I drew on the Interim Report of the High-level Trade Experts Group, appointed by the governments of Britain, Germany, Indonesia, and Turkey, which I co-chair, to explain why concluding the World Trade Organization’s ten-year-old Doha Round was important. The column was reprinted on a blog maintained by CUTS International (Consumer Unity and Trust Society), the most important developing-country NGO today, leading to an outpouring of reactions from trade experts. The faucet is still open, but the debate has already raised critiques that must be answered.

Some critics rushed in to declare that Doha was dead – indeed, that they, being smart, had already said so years ago. Presumably, our attempt at resurrecting it was pathetic and hopeless. But, if Doha was dead, one had to ask why the negotiators were still negotiating, and why nearly all G-20 leaders were still issuing endorsements of the talks each time they met.