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Unfinished Business? The WTO's Doha Agenda

Editors: Will Martin and Aaditya Mattoo, November 2011

The Doha Development Agenda (DDA) is in limbo. After ten years of hard work by skilled negotiators, seeking to identify the interests of different participants and to reconcile them into an overall agreement, no conclusion is in sight. A Doha-weary world faces a difficult “trilemma”: to implement all or part of the draft agreements as they stand today; to modify them substantially; or to dump Doha and start afresh. At this critical juncture, this volume aims to provide a better empirical basis for informed choices.  It addresses the questions that are relevant to each of the possible scenarios.  What benefits precisely does Doha currently offer individual participants and what would be lost if Doha were abandoned? What are the implications of potential modifications proposed to the Doha drafts?  And if the WTO did start afresh, what have we learnt from Doha about ways to go? 

What does Doha offer?

One of the key impediments to reaching an agreement is the widespread skepticism about what the DDA will actually deliver in terms of market access. The book shows that the current Doha proposals – even after allowing for flexibilities such as for sensitive and special products – would cut applied tariffs on agricultural and non-agricultural (NAMA) goods by around 20 percent. The agricultural proposals also include abolition of export subsidies and sharp reductions in maximum levels of domestic support, especially in the EU and the USA. The global gains are conservatively estimated to be around $160 billion per year from the agricultural and NAMA agreements alone. The true gains would be larger because the proposed cuts in bound tariffs (an average of 27 percent in agricultural and 46 percent in non-agricultural goods) would reduce the uncertainty associated with the current large gaps between applied and bound tariffs. More Information >>

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