News story

World Leaders must save Doha from collapse

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A Trade Experts Group set up by the UK, Germany, Turkey and Indonesia has today published its final report - “World Trade and the Doha Round…

placeholder

A Trade Experts Group set up by the UK, Germany, Turkey and Indonesia has today published its final report - “World Trade and the Doha Round”.

The report argues that the Doha Round will die unless global political leaders demonstrate their commitment in the coming months.

Peter Sutherland and Pr Jagdish Bhagwati co-chaired the Experts Group. They were asked to consider the actions needed to combat protectionism and to boost global trade. They believe that ten years of negotiations for the Doha Round have produced the most substantial package of trade liberalisation ever put within reach - and call on national leaders to break the current stalemate and seize this opportunity.

The report argues that the failure of the Doha Round would not only impact on trade, but also on economic confidence, and more widely on stability and global governance. They call specifically on the US and China to help progress the deadlocked negotiations and argue that the concessions that need to be made are relatively small in size and involve limited political pain.

Peter Sutherland, co-chair of the High-Level Trade Experts Group said:

“The message of this report is that the Doha Round of talks is facing imminent failure. Ten years of negotiations has brought a wide ranging package of trade agreements within reach, but without urgent action the prize a conclusion would bring will be lost for all nations.

“The benefits to be reaped go way beyond the most ambitious liberalisation package ever negotiated and would deliver a huge step forward for global governance, stability and the rule of law. As a group, today we call upon all political leaders to make their contribution now to achieve this deal as there will be no more second chances.”

The report states that open trade promotes the economic growth that has helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty since the Second World War and continues to play a key role today. The authors argue that a resolution would deliver a boost of £110 billion per year to the global economy.

The economic argument for a resolution is clear, but the report also notes further benefits for all countries. These include:

  • Open trade is the most effective peace-keeping policy tool the Community of Nations has used over the past 60 years;
  • An agreement on open trade would provide an insurance policy against future protectionism;
  • A settlement would reinforce the WTO system and by extension the multilateral institutions also.

Welcoming the report Trade & Investment Minister Lord Green said:

“We thank the Trade Experts Group for their excellent work. The report makes a compelling case for concluding the Doha Round and highlights the need for real political leadership if we are to complete a deal this year. The UK Government recognises that 2011 is the make or break year and will continue to work with its international partners to complete a deal.”

Notes to editors

  1. In October 2010 the heads of government of Germany, Great Britain, Indonesia and Turkey agreed to co-sponsor an Experts Group to report on the priority actions that have to be taken to combat protectionism and to boost global trade
  2. The High-Level Trade Experts Group final report will be published on 25 May, 00:01 GMT +1 (Paris time)
  3. An interim report was launched in Davos on January 28 2011.
  4. The members of the panel have been drawn from a range of advanced and developing countries and, while all are experts on trade and economics, each brings a different set of skills and experience
  5. The two co-chairs are Pr Jagdish Bhagwati and Peter Sutherland KCMG. The other members are Pr Richard Baldwin, Dr K.Y. Amoako, Dr Muhammad Chatib Basri, Dr Eckart Guth, Dr Jaime Serra, Pr Subidey Togan and Pr Jurgen Von Hagen.

Experts’ Group Terms of Reference

  • To assess the current environment for trade and to recommend the priority political and regulatory steps needed to increase global trade flows in the short and medium term, in particular:
  • To present an analysis of the global welfare potential at stake in the various options for the conclusion of the Doha Round, in support of the WTO negotiations as they approach their final stage; and,
  • To define a longer term approach to trade liberalisation and regional integration in support of the multilateral trading system, including steps to tackle regulatory, administrative and physical barriers to trade.

For additional information or an embargoed copy of the executive summary of the report please contact Lucy-Michael Sutton at BIS Press Office on:

Lucymichael.sutton@bis.gsi.gov.uk 020 7215 5977

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division COI Phone

Fax

Mobile

Email NDS.BIS@coi.gsi.gov.uk

Name Lucy-Michael Sutton Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 5977 Fax

Mobile

Email lucymichael.sutton@bis.gsi.gov.uk

Published 25 May 2011