Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Adam Hersh over at Globalize This! notices how WTO Director General Supachai Panitchpakdi is starting to get nervous that the Doha Round is grinding to a halt yet again. Today's FT tells us that France in particular says
a draft deal aimed at putting stalled global trade talks back on track was unacceptable in its current form and called for a substantial redraft of the text.

President Jacques Chirac said the draft, presented by mediators at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last week, was "profoundly unbalanced" and contrary to the interests of the European Union.

"France wants to see the conclusion of the Doha Round (of trade talks), but it cannot give its agreement to negotiations on such a basis," Chirac said in a statement.

Chirac said the European Commission should do everything in its power to rebalance the text.
Ah, and just when you thought it was safe to attend that next WTO Ministerial and rub elbows at Davos.

Adam also examines the fine print of World Bank publications and comes up with this gem.
Even the most rose tinted analyses point to slim to no benefits from the Doha Round. The World Bank predicts that, e.g., Sierra Leone's per capita GDP would blossom to a whopping $592 by 2015 thanks to the Doha Round. Oh, but without Doha, it would be $583 in 2015. All this fuss for $9 each? Hell, the rich countries and the WTO could just give $9 to every Sierra Leonian rather than spending all this money shipping trade ministers around the world to convene in luxurious ballrooms and stay in five star hotel suites.
Adam doesn't mention all the costs of neoliberal globalization which the World Bank ignores, such as stockpiling currency reserves in US banks rather than investing that capital locally. Even $9 per capita is a stretch.

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