The growing weakness of the world trading system is a serious threat to global prosperity. In the 1990s, strong expansion of international trade supported sustained world economic growth. This was helped by the liberalisation of the Uruguay trade round, by considerable expansion of most-favoured-nation arrangements in all western Paciﬁc economies, and by preparations for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, this process has come to an end.
The emphatic launching of the new Doha round for WTO liberalisation in the months after September 11 2001 was welcome. Its wide agenda included high ambitions for agricultural trade and other issues important to developing countries.
The Cancún negotiation breakdown in September came about because of problems with agriculture. Of central importance was agricultural protectionism in the European Union, the United States, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.