The latest round of multilateral trade negotiations — the Doha Round — initiated a comprehensive negotiating round set out in a complex structure. At the same time, this Round focused attention on a ‘development agenda’, all as part of a ‘single undertaking’ with an ambitious three year deadline. The negotiations were troubled from the start and there are not many signs that agreement will be reached anytime soon. Given the long standing impasse, the time is now ripe to begin evaluating and understanding how the Doha Round negotiations became a seemingly endless charade and why the possibility of a substantial and workable agreement continues to elude WTO Members. This commentary attempts to address these questions by providing the background and timeline to the Doha Round before briefly discussing some of the differing negotiating positions and preferred outcomes of the major Members and negotiating coalitions. While the negotiating positions differ widely on a number of issues, this commentary concludes that more systemic institutional impediments exist, which not only hinder the successful conclusion of the Doha Round, but also prevent effective long-term institutional governance and vision.
Date of this Version
Bryan Mercurio, "The WTO and Its Institutional Impediments" (July 2007). University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series. Working Paper 46.