The Doha Development Agenda

image of The Doha Development Agenda

An underlying objective of the WTO is to promote economic development through effective participation in world trade. Three aspects of the WTO’s structure and rules are relevant to the question of how developing countries can derive greater benefits from participation in the trading system. First, the rules themselves, together with permitted exceptions and interpretations, are the foundation of the system and play a key part in determining the conditions and opportunities of trade. Second, there is the question of the coverage of the system. No examples exist of topics that the WTO has taken up and then discarded, so this is about the inclusion of new areas. Third, the pattern of protection facing a country’s exports also goes a long way in defining trading conditions and opportunities. In short, the nature of WTO rules, the reach of these rules, and conditions of market access are the three major areas that determine the quality and utility of the WTO for its Members. Not surprisingly, each of these three elements features prominently in the Doha Development Agenda.

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