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Full Access Improving the Effectiveness of Multilateral Trade Negotiations: A Practitioner’s Perspective on the 2008 WTO Ministerial Meeting

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Improving the Effectiveness of Multilateral Trade Negotiations: A Practitioner’s Perspective on the 2008 WTO Ministerial Meeting

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Abstract The informal WTO ministerial meeting in July 2008 brought the long stalled Doha Round to the verge of a breakthrough. The reason for its final failure was substantive and not related to the negotiating procedures, which previously had contributed to meager results and failures in the round. The meeting was conducted using procedures that ensured a considerable amount of trustworthiness, transparency and legitimacy, which in turn contributed to effectiveness in the process. Thus, the meeting solved many, albeit not all, outstanding issues on the path towards agreement on so-called modalities for agriculture and industrial products, which in turn would have been necessary for a final successful conclusion of the Round. The 2008 July negotiations demonstrated that complex large-scale multilateral negotiations can be handled procedurally in an acceptable and successful way. The article advances a neglected interpretation of the July meeting, and provides lessons for both future WTO negotiations and multilateral negotiations in other policy areas.

Affiliations: 1: Delegation of Sweden to the OECD and UNESCO Paris France anders.ahnlid@foreign.ministry.se

10.1163/157180612X630938
/content/journals/10.1163/157180612x630938
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Abstract The informal WTO ministerial meeting in July 2008 brought the long stalled Doha Round to the verge of a breakthrough. The reason for its final failure was substantive and not related to the negotiating procedures, which previously had contributed to meager results and failures in the round. The meeting was conducted using procedures that ensured a considerable amount of trustworthiness, transparency and legitimacy, which in turn contributed to effectiveness in the process. Thus, the meeting solved many, albeit not all, outstanding issues on the path towards agreement on so-called modalities for agriculture and industrial products, which in turn would have been necessary for a final successful conclusion of the Round. The 2008 July negotiations demonstrated that complex large-scale multilateral negotiations can be handled procedurally in an acceptable and successful way. The article advances a neglected interpretation of the July meeting, and provides lessons for both future WTO negotiations and multilateral negotiations in other policy areas.

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2012-01-01
2016-12-05

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