After the Collapse—A New Agenda for Trade Liberalisation
YOU HAVE HEARD IT BEFORE: trade liberalisation is a much-vaunted
objective, but it is seldom, if ever, achieved in a straightforward
way. Is the current impasse simply one of many pauses on the road to
freer trade—or does it signal a bigger road-block and a change of
The Doha round has been suspended and the World Trade Organization is
having an identity crisis. Recent efforts to open the European services
markets to increased competition fell short of initial ambitions. The
new rush to preferential trade agreements often seems devoid of major
liberalising ambition, and challenges the viability of multilateral
trade rules. And in the post-Washington Consensus era, unilateral trade
liberalisation in the developing world has slowed down considerably.
How can we make sense of the current stalemate and what can be done to
revive a trade-liberalisation agenda?
A summary of the conference and the presentations held is available here.