Refocusing the WTO after the Cessation of the Doha Round of Negotiations

CIGI Policy Brief #5

September 1, 2008

How to proceed after the July 2008 cessation of the Doha Round negotiations ("collapse" is the term used in journalistic circles) in the World Trade Organization (WTO) is an issue that will likely preoccupy trade officials globally for many years, even if subsequent Brazilian efforts to revive the negotiations breathe new life into them. This brief discusses some possible directions for future global WTO-based policy coordination beyond the Doha Round and ways of building on existing WTO agreements in the medium term -- perhaps over a period of decades. The central idea is to build on the focal point for international policy coordination that the WTO charter and agreements represent by expanding the coverage of WTO principles. Rather than return only to negotiating the issues of the past, such as trade in industrial and agricultural goods, trade in services and other issues, the brief suggests that exploring the potential uses of WTO principles in newer, unexplored areas may provide both fresh benefits for global economic policy coordination and permit forward momentum in negotiation to protect existing agreements.

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