The WTO Doha Round Draft Text on Agricultural Trade Liberalization: How Did We Get into Such a Mess? Should We Walk Away?
Brett G. Williams
September 7, 2009
Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 1-21, 2009
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/78
The Doha Round WTO negotiation on agricultural trade has been difficult from the beginning. The author expresses the view that the current state of the negotiations as reflected in the draft modalities agreement is completely unsatisfactory. The draft agreement would achieve very modest liberalization, and would unnecessarily complicate the rules, failing to bring agricultural trade under the ordinary GATT rules. It would make liberalization in the future harder not easier. The author would advise the Australian government to reject the draft texts and advocate starting again, though it seems the likely outcome is one based on some further adjustment of the unsatisfactory draft text. It is necessary to ask "How did we get into this mess?" and "What could Australia have done differently?" The author suggests that a different approach by Australia and the Cairns Group from the beginning might have avoided the current mess.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: World Trade Organization, WTO, international trade regulation, Doha Round, trade negotiations, agricultural trade
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Date posted: September 15, 2009