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A Trip, A Fall: Dusting Off Protectionism

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Doha Development Agenda tripped -- and fell -- this weekend when governments failed to agree on a way forward to open market access and reduce subsidies among the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 149 members. It’s a major disappointment that governments couldn’t find a way past their political impasse on agriculture, which -- while an important part of the world economy -- is holding up progress on a slew of other productivity-enhancing areas, like telecom services liberalization, technology tariff reduction and trade facilitation.WTO Logo.gifDespite the breakdown, business will continue, but will have to continue to divert scarce resources to overcome market barriers and inefficiences, such as high tariffs or onerous technical requirements. While governments hem and haw about choosing a “negotiating modality,” business will advance -- trade distortions and all -- but certainly at a cost to businesses and consumers in the developed and developing world.

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