Deadlock in the Doha Round: The Long Slow Decline of Trade Multilateralism

 

Daniel Drache and Marc D. Froese

This paper argues that deadlock in the Doha Round of trade negotiations is due to the increasing complexity of economic globalization. It represents a transformative shift on the part of Member nations away from the current model of trade multilateralism and towards smaller negotiating platforms. We examine two main reasons for this changing pattern in international economic relations. First, with the rise of new global trading powers such as India, China and Brazil, the geopolitical playing field is in flux and the steady accumulation of political and market power in the global South has sapped the WTO’s forward momentum. The second factor in the decline of trade multilateralism is a cocktail of rigid rules, non-tariff protectionism, and a crisis of representation that throws sand in the institutional gears of multilateral trade.