2011 is make or break year for Doha deal, says UK PM

PTI London | Updated on January 29, 2011 Published on January 29, 2011

The British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron. (file photo)   -  The Hindu

The British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, has welcomed the interim findings of an expert group, set up to consider the actions needed to combat protectionism and to boost global trade, saying the “year 2011 is make or break year for Doha deal’’.

The report ‘The Doha Round: Setting a deadline, defining a deal,’ published today, argues that for the Doha agreement to be a success the negotiations need to be concluded by the end of 2011.

The document makes the case for action to be taken now, arguing that substantive agreements need to be concluded by the summer to achieve the 2011 deadline.

The experts’ report sets out four arguments for completing the Doha Round which it believes will benefit all countries: An agreement would provide an insurance policy against future protectionism by consolidating the large amount of unilateral liberalisation that has occurred since the Uruguay Round in the 1990s.

An agreement would result in reforms of farm trade by binding subsidy levels in the developed world and eliminating export subsidies.

An agreement would present the most-ambitious package of trade liberalisation and facilitation ever negotiated multilaterally, bring economic benefits of at least $360 billion.

The failure to reach an agreement would undermine the credibility of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and that of multilateralism more generally as a mechanism to address trade.

Speaking on why trade matters, Mr Cameron said: “Trade is the biggest wealth creator we’ve ever known... And it’s the biggest stimulus we can give (to) our economies right now. A completed trade round could add $170 billion dollars to the world economy.’’

On 2011 as the make or break year for Doha, the Prime Minister said: “We’ve been at this Doha round for far too long. It’s frankly ridiculous that it has taken 10 years to do this deal. We simply cannot spend another 10 years going round in circles.

If we don’t get the deal done this year it is hard to see how the Doha process can have any further credibility. If we enter 2012 still stuck on this, real leadership will mean a radical rethink of how we get this done.”

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Published on January 29, 2011
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