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Breakthrough at Bali? Explanations, Aftermath, Implications

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The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Ministerial Conference at Bali in December 2013 seemed to have marked a landmark moment in the history of the negotiations of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). This article begins with a brief analysis of why the DDA has been quagmired in deadlocks and become the longest running trade round in the history of the multilateral trading system. It then discusses the significance of what was achieved at the Bali Ministerial in light of repeated failures and particularly from the perspective of the world’s poorest countries. It explains why and how breakthroughs were achieved and highlights several important institutional innovations. Lastly, it discusses how sustainable these innovations might be.

Affiliations: 1: GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies Neuer Jungfernsteig 21, Hamburg 20354 Germany ; 2: Department of International Relations flacso, Ayacucho 551, C1026 aac, Buenos Aires Argentina

* Amrita Narlikar is the President of the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, and Professor at the University of Hamburg. She thanks the Leverhulme Foundation for funding the research on which this article is based. She also thankfully acknowledges the research assistance of Gilbert Knies.
** Diana Tussie is the Founder Director of the Latin American Trade Network. She heads the Department of International Relations at the Argentine campus of FLACSO, the Latin American School of Social Sciences.

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