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Shijith Kumar asked: After a decade of negotiations, why the Doha Round has not succeeded?

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  • Jagannath P. Panda replies: The Doha round of talks has not been primarily successful because of the invariable differences between the developed and developing countries on the WTO settings, and about the rules and regulations of the IMF and World Bank. The developing countries mostly argue that the current rules and regulations in most of the global financial bodies are more in favour of the developed or industrialised countries. Also, the developed countries are not forthcoming when it comes to trade concessions for the developing countries or the rising economies. They conduct their business dealings as usual through customary ways i.e., by subsidising their agricultural sectors and setting the market conditions that suits their needs, without caring much about developing countries’ needs. On the contrary, the developed countries/blocs like the US and the EU have been of the view that the developing economies have failed to agree and converge with the developed countries’ demands for near zero-tariffs in important sectors, like agriculture and services.

    These fundamental differences in the Doha Round of talks have increased the divide between the developed and the developing countries. Most of the talks in Doha so far have pressurised the developing countries to open their markets further, overlooking the need for bringing transparency to the rules and regulations in the global financial bodies, like the WTO, IMF and the World Bank. Though it seems that the main reason behind the failure of the Doha Rounds are systemic problems, linked to rule and regulations of the global financial bodies; but the process of discussion has been politicised gradually among the two mainstream blocs- developed and developing countries. Further, there seems to be a lack of coherent strategy among the developing countries to form a credible union which would help put more pressure on the Western or developed powers to bring transparency and make amendments in the rules in the WTO, IMF and the World Bank.