Quick Edit | Doha and trade blackmail

Quick Edit | Doha and trade blackmail

The story of the Doha “development" Round of trade talks is full of twists and turns. Last week, trade ministers of some least developed countries (LDCs) demanded an “early harvest" of benefits that will accrue to them from trade?liberalization.

They demanded this as a “down payment" for agreeing to a deal in the talks. World Trade Organization (WTO) director general Pascal Lamy rejected this in Dar es Salaam.

There may be grounds to give LDCs some concessions in trade talks, but a demand for early benefits is nothing but political blackmail.

Latest estimates say that trade liberalization under the Doha Round will raise the world gross domestic product by an estimated $300-700 billion per year. But that increase in wealth will come after trade barriers have been brought down and not before.

The fact is that the climate for trade liberalization has worsened considerably after the global recession. But making such outlandish demands will only delay a trade deal, something that will harm poor countries more than rich ones.