World Trade Negotiations: Dangers to Doha

The greatest challenge to the future safety and sustainability of our planet is the current levels of abject poverty amidst so much plenty. This leads to a sense of frustration and injustice that feeds bitterness, division and conflict. On the grounds of morality and self-interest, international trade rules must be made fairer so that the poor have the chance to improve their lives and get access to the modern technology that we take for granted and that could so easily be shared more widely.

The World Today Updated 21 October 2020 Published 1 August 2003 8 minute READ

Clare Short

Former UK Secretary of State for International Development (1997-2003)

The agenda agreed in November 2001 at the fourth ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Doha was ambitious. It put development at the heart of negotiations aiming to make trade work better for all countries, especially the poorest.

Amongst other things, we promised to ensure that the Trade Related-Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement would give developing countries enough flexibility to cope with public health crises. We promised real progress on agricultural market access and action on export subsidies. We promised service negotiations which offer benefits for developing countries. We promised to tackle tariff peaks and escalation as well as non-tariff barriers. And we promised a review of special and differential treatment across all WTO business areas to make them more effective.

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