Saturday, November 26, 2005

Let the Doha Round fail

Talk to World Bank and WTO officials, and you will get an earful of inflated claims about the benefits that a successful Doha round would bring. These officials often make it sound as if the livelihood of hundreds of millions of poor people in developing nations hangs in the balance. Look closer at these claims, and you find that they are built on sand.


... The next time around, trade talks should take up the two most glaring omissions to date:
  • A comprehensive effort to enhance the mobility of temporary workers from poor countries to rich countries. This is where the gains from liberalization would be the largest, because it is here that the barriers are the highest.
  • Creation of a "policy space" for developing countries in WTO agreements. Developing nations' pursuit of growth-promoting trade and industrial policies are increasingly running afoul of restrictive WTO rules. Growth superstars such as South Korea, Taiwan, China, and many others would not have been able to adopt the growth strategies that they did if today's WTO strictures had applied to them. Trade officials must acknowledge the lessons from these countries' experience and reform the rules accordingly.

That's from a recent column by Dani Rodrik. You might also be interested in his academic papers.