La muerte de la ronda de desarrollo

Las esperanzas de una ronda de desarrollo en el comercio mundial –que abriera oportunidades para que los países en desarrollo crecieran y redujeran la pobreza- hoy parecen haberse desvanecido. Si bien se pueden derramar lágrimas de cocodrilo, es necesario calibrar la magnitud de la desilusión: durante mucho tiempo, Pascal Lamy, titular de la Organización Mundial de Comercio, se había esforzado por achicar las expectativas, a tal punto que resultaba claro que cualquiera fuera el resultado, en el mejor de los casos, implicaría beneficios limitados para los países pobres.

El fracaso prácticamente no causó sorpresa: hacía mucho tiempo que Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea habían dejado de cumplir las promesas que hicieron en 2001 en Doha para rectificar los desequilibrios de la última ronda de negociaciones comerciales –una ronda tan injusta que los países más pobres del mundo, en realidad, terminaron mucho peor que antes-. Una vez más, triunfó la falta de compromiso de Estados Unidos con el multilateralismo, su obstinación y su voluntad de colocar la conveniencia política por sobre los principios –e incluso sus propios intereses nacionales-. Ante la inminencia de las elecciones en noviembre, el presidente George W. Bush no podía “sacrificar” a los 25.000 cultivadores de algodón adinerados o a los 10.000 cultivadores de arroz prósperos y sus aportes para la campaña. Pocas veces tantos tuvieron que renunciar a tanto para proteger los intereses de tan pocos.

Las conversaciones se empantanaron en la agricultura, donde los subsidios y las restricciones comerciales siguen siendo tanto más elevados que en la industria. Dado que el 70% aproximadamente de la gente en los países en desarrollo depende directa o indirectamente de la agricultura, son los perdedores bajo el régimen actual. Pero el foco en la agricultura desvió la atención de una agenda mucho más amplia que podría haberse tratado de manera tal que se hubieran beneficiado tanto el norte como el sur.

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