Breaking the Doha Deadlock

Policy Outlook
The new U.S. Congress needs to reexamine America's position in the WTO negotiations. A lopsided U.S. proposal on agriculture has deadlocked the trade talks, preventing gains in services and manufacturing trade that are much more important to the U.S. economy.
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The Doha Round of negotiations at the World Trade Organization has reached a stalemate, with most countries blaming the deadlock on a U.S. agricultural trade proposal they see as offering little or no actual policy change by the U.S. while requiring maximum concessions by farmers elsewhere.  U.S. negotiators have thus far refused to modify that proposal and the outgoing Congress supported their position. 

In a new Carnegie Policy Outlook, Sandra Polaski argues that the new Congress should reexamine the skewed U.S. proposal.  She demonstrates that the claim that developing country agricultural markets are closed to U.S. exports and must be prized open during the Doha Round is not supported by the facts.  Polaski maintains that a favorable deal is available if the U.S. can find its way out of the corner it has backed in to. Congress can and should help, in order to achieve benefits for the U.S. economy as a whole and the wider U.S. interests of global growth, stability and poverty alleviation.

About the Author
Sandra Polaski
 is director of the Trade, Equity, and Development Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her work focuses on trade, development, and employment policies in the context of globalization. Until April 2002, Ms. Polaski served as the U.S. Secretary of State’s Special Representative for International Labor Affairs. Her most recent publication is: Winners and Losers: Impact of the Doha Round on Developing Countries, March 2006.

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