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Hostage to Fortune? 'Downpayments' and the Future of the Doha Round


Having recognised that the completion of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations during 2011 is infeasible, governments and the WTO Director-General are exploring whether a 'downpayment' on the Round could be negotiated before the December 2011 WTO Ministerial Conference. The initial indications are not promising. Worse, as argued here, a downpayment coupled with a retroactive revocation clause are unlikely on their own to change the politics of trade policy in the major trading nations. This makes the signing of the final deal no easier unless something alters the calculus of senior government leaders and establishes a credible end game for the negotiation.