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Development Opportunities from Doha

Public Symposium: The Doha Development Agenda and Beyond, (WTO)

SUMMARY REPORT

Moderator: H.E. Mr. Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico

Discussants:
Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam International, Thomas Aquino, Government of Philippines, Peter Eigen, Transparency International  

The WTO: The role of Parliamentarians?  
Development Opportunities from Doha
Business and the Digital Promise for Development
Market Access — What is at stake?

This session with its distinguished panelists, Mr Jeremy Hobbs from Oxfam International, Mr. Thomas Aquino from the Government of Philippines and Mr. Peter Eigen from Transparency International, brought a fairly broad set of issues to the discussions. They also generated sufficient interest and a high degree of audience participation/interaction. The interventions including those from the audience largely recognized the considerable development opportunities, that can potentially be realized from Doha, particularly in my view, from further market access through trade liberalization and rule making.

There were several perspectives offered, not least from the panellists themselves, with Mr. Hobbs, citing the findings of their recent Oxfam study on the role of trade and globalization in the fight against poverty www.maketradefair.com. In examining the trade and poverty reduction linkages, trade was viewed as an important though not always a sufficient factor in addressing poverty. Access to assets, and in some instances the case for direct interventions (while noting the possible efficiency aspects of such actions) were highlighted. For development opportunities to be realized and for trade to lead to rapid growth, development, and poverty reduction the importance of addressing and setting the trade rules and practices to the benefit of developing and poor nations was advocated.

Trade and poverty reduction linkages were also discussed from the perspective of a developing country, such as Philippines, by Mr. Aquino, and in his presentation he set out some of the possible elements to maximize the development opportunities and outcomes from Doha for his country. Taking account of domestic constituents and political processes, assessing net gains and losses, facilitating export growth in developing countries with improved market access in key employment intensive sectors such as agriculture, and the issue of special and differential treatment were raised in this context. In addition to trade (export) expansion highlighted by the discussant,  the benefits of import liberalization for all countries, including developing nations, was emphasized by many participants in the discussions that followed. The role and importance of technical assistance and capacity building for developing and least-developed countries to raise understanding and facilitate the implementation of the WTO Agreements was stressed. The increased need for technical assistance and the role of other multilateral, regional and bilateral sources of assistance were also discussed.

The role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in controlling corruption and building an "anti-corruption" strategy more explicitly in the work of the WTO was raised by Mr Eigen in his presentation. Addressing bribery, and with it its detrimental economic, social and political effects were emphasized as an element in the discussions. Tackling the global problem (not restricted to the North or South) could, further enhance the development opportunities and outcome. Views were also expressed on the role of the WTO, and whether it addressed the issue of corruption implicitly, if not explicitly, by streamlining administrative procedures and trade instruments, reducing the scope for discrimination and rent-seeking and by its work on issues such as trade-facilitation and transparency in government procurement.

Revista INTER-FORUM is affiliated with (ICCAP)

Any reproduction in part or whole is strictly forbidden without the authors written authorization  

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May 6, 2002

 

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