The Doha Round after Hong Kong

by Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Peterson Institute for International Economics
and Jeffrey J. Schott, Peterson Institute for International Economics

February 2006

Trade ministers from member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) convened in Hong Kong in December 2005 to jump-start the flagging Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The ministerial accomplished more in spirit than in substance and placed more emphasis on negotiating process than on policy reform. The industrial countries offered up kernels of subsidy reform and development assistance, but all the big-ticket items were studiously deferred to future meetings. Progress on nonagricultural market access and services was microscopic. Without substantive offers in these areas, the United States and European Union will not be able to augment their offers on farm reforms. Developing countries are skeptical that the European Union will up the ante in agriculture even if they offer concrete reforms on goods and services trade. In any event, most developing countries are reluctant to lower their own market access barriers. So neither side moves. Trade ministers do not have the political authority to break this "Alphonse and Gaston" routine and approve reforms in sensitive areas that are needed to produce a comprehensive package of accords acceptable to all WTO members. To succeed, the Doha Round needs a political jolt. A trade summit involving heads of state of countries whose policy reforms are crucial to the success of the WTO talks must be convened to break the impasse.

View full document [pdf]


Paper: From Drift to Deals: Advancing the WTO Agenda June 2015

Op-ed: Too Much Legitimacy Can Hurt Global Trade January 13, 2013

Policy Brief 12-11: Will the World Trade Organization Enjoy a Bright Future? May 2012

Op-ed: The G-20 Is Failing April 12, 2012

Paper: The Doha Dilemma: Implications for Korea and the Multilateral Trading System September 26, 2011

Policy Brief 11-8: What Should the United States Do about Doha? June 2011

Op-ed: US Trade Policy and the Doha Round: An Alternative View May 18, 2011

Book: Figuring Out the Doha Round June 2010

Policy Brief 10-11: A Trade Agenda for the G-20 May 2010

Working Paper 09-6: What's on the Table? The Doha Round as of August 2009 August 2009

Article: A Crisis Round of Trade Negotiations? March 30, 2009

Op-ed: A 5-Step Program for Doha Rehabilitation: Rational Expectations about the Doha Round Negotiations July 18, 2008

Working Paper 08-2: Currency Undervaluation and Sovereign Wealth Funds: A New Role for the World Trade Organization January 2008

Book: Global Warming and the World Trading System March 2009

Book: Delivering on Doha: Farm Trade and the Poor July 2006

© 2016 Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics. 1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-328-9000 Fax: 202-659-3225 / 202-328-5432
Site development and hosting by Digital Division