Doha round, as the name implies, goes on and on without any finite conclusion. In Physics, when a body travels in a circular orbit, it goes on travelling and there is no end to it. Earth revolving around the sun is a classic example. Doha round is alike. Trade ministers of India, Brazil and China reviewed the current status on the sidelines of the Davos World Economic Forum meeting. But the Doha round of the WTO negotiations seems to be eluding a solution acceptable to all. These leaders issued a political message during the G-20 Seoul summit but of no avail. Everybody says that he is committed to the Doha round’s smooth conclusion. But nobody knows how to finish it off.
Doha round, a failure?
Multilateralism Is Not Easy To Deal With
A multilateral trade deal among the comity of nations in the world is not an easy task. Brave efforts were needed to arrive at a conclusion in 2011 itself. USA wanted the developing nations to contribute more for the smooth conclusion of the Doha round but developing nations insisted that the demands should be reasonable. Political factors also play a key role in economic consideration. No ruling party in India can sign an agreement and face the wrath of the domestic people. But in case of China, it is quite different as Chinese people cannot dislodge the Communist Party from power.
Lamy Admits Failure
The ten years old world trade talks were almost killed last year when there was a stiff fight between USA and other nations like China over manufacturing trade. The differences were termed unbridgeable. Doha round was supposed to produce accords to regulate the world trade in the next decade. But even the WTO chief Pascal Lamy has indirectly admitted failure of the Doha round. Development agenda of the Doha round could play a central role in galvanizing nations to veer around a single point in their own interests. India already agreed to split the Doha round in order to provide Air package for poor nations. But will anybody consider nations like India and China as poor anymore? In fact if there is no corruption, India could be the richest nation in the world
WTO Is Also Responsible For the Failure
India opted for a middle path to arrive at a trade deal in the Doha round. But for the death of the Doha round, blame is to be apportioned among the developing nations like India & China and the developed nations like USA. In fact WTO is also responsible for the failure of the Doha round. But still nobody was prepared to say that all hopes were lost. WTO chief directly warned the participants of an impending collapse of the talks. Doha round arose hopes of an instrument of development and growth but it failed to live upto the expectations. Proposal for support fund did not generate any takers
Rigid Stance on Market Access
Rigid stance on the market access also proved to be a stumbling block. Repeated failures to arrive at deadlines created a dose of scepticism which later on turned into cynicism. But cynicism depends on credulity, so goes the saying and the talks went on. The odds against concluding the round were quite high. Success hinged on the attitude of USA. It was speculated that the Doha round could come to a conclusion by the year end of 2011. Lamy was passionately seeking support for the Doha round. Lamy stated that the deciding status of the poor nations was the key to Doha round. After all, Doha round was the key to the world economy which is staggering right now.
Doha Failure Will Dilute WTO
Any failure in the Doha round will lead to dilution of the WTO itself. Lamy is quite aware of his responsibilities. The WTO still enjoys credibility among the comity of the nations notwithstanding the differences. One has to look beyond the Doha round in order to arrive at acceptable solutions to all and consolidate the world economy to the benefit of all. For the welfare of one, another person need not sacrifice. Solutions are available through which all the parties can enjoy development. Therefore even if the Doha round fails or is considered as a failure, it will not mean end of the negotiating path. In fact Indian Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar stated that the Doha round conclusion was not possible before 2013.
Which US President Has The Courage In An Election Year?
US President should muster courage to conclude the Doha round at an early date. But in an election year, will any President have the boldness to go ahead and act like a Statesman? There are critics in USA that the gain from the Doha round could be a paltry $7 billion annually. Nothing can be more absurd than this. It is like calculating the weight of all the chemicals in the human body and arriving at the stupid conclusion that the human body is worth $2. The Doha round is now about trade politics. Western nations are suspecting that India and China are growing at a faster pace and may overtake them sooner than later.
India and China Are No More Poor Countries
End of multilateral approach to world trade may affect smaller nations than larger ones. But Indian and Chinese economies can no longer be stated to be small economies. Not anymore. India is the largest consumer of gold in the world. Nine out of ten diamonds are cut and polished in India. Diamond industry in Surat in Gujarat alone is worth Rs.65000 crore
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