Could a Trans-Atlantic Trade Deal Reinvigorate Doha?

On average, poor countries that opened their markets to trade and investment have grown more than three times faster than those that kept their markets closed. No country has prospered by sealing itself off from global economy.

With the Doha Round still in deadlock and governments increasingly looking to bilateral and regional trade agreements, there is legitimate concern that the WTO could be rendered irrelevant, destroy the enormous benefits we derive from our multilateral trading system, and damage the ability of the poorest countries to develop through trade.

In the New York Times, Carla Hills has suggested that the successful negotiation of the Trans-Altantic Trade and Investment Partnership between America and the EU could be the catalyst for bringing WTO members back into the fold of multilateral negotiations.

Although on the surface, it would seem strange to argue that a regional trade deal is what’s required to bring the 159 members of the WTO back to the table, but history has shown that successfully negotiating a major regional trade deal of high quality can reinvigorate multilateralism.

In 1990, the Uruguay Trade Round collapsed. The following year, the US, Mexico and Canada launched negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Within just a few months of NAFTA’s completion in 1992, the world’s trade negotiators had returned to the fray, completed the Uruguay Round and created the WTO.

By joining the economies of Canada, Mexico and the U.S., NAFTA created a regional market of over 400 million people. It was the first comprehensive free trade agreement to join developed and developing nations, and it achieved deeper trade liberalization than any prior trade agreement.

Ms Hills says that if we are to repeat the success of 20 years ago, we will require an even greater catalyst: a regional trade agreement of such quality and scope that the rest of the world is galvanized. She believes that the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and US, which would involve around half the global economy, could be just that.

The global reaction to Nafta 20 years ago shows that when governments see others taking economic action that generates growth and stability they do not want to be left out. If the EU and US were to finalise a broad, gold-standard trade agreement across the Atlantic, this might reignite support for multilateral trade liberalization, bringing W.T.O. members back to the table to finish the Doha Round, which would give a real boost to the global economy and especially to developing countries.

Carla Hills is Chief Executive Officer of Hills & Company International Consultants. She was the US Trade Representative from 1989 to 1993 and the primary US negotiator of NAFTA.

Read Ms Hills’ original article in the New York Times here

 

summary

With the Doha Round still in deadlock and governments increasingly looking to bilateral and regional trade agreements, there is legitimate concern that the WTO could be rendered irrelevant, destroy the enormous benefits we derive from our multilateral trading system, and damaging the ability of the poorest countries to develop through trade. In the New York Times, Carla Hills has suggested that the successful negotiation of the Trans-Altantic Trade and Investment Partnership between America and the EU could be the catalyst for bringing WTO members back into the fold of multilateral negotiations.

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By | 2017-10-08T11:56:23+00:00 April 29th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Could a Trans-Atlantic Trade Deal Reinvigorate Doha?

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