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The Doha Round

Via Andrew, David Bosco correctly observes that the administration is not going to make a big push for salvaging the Doha round of global trade talks:

The chances that a Democratic administration facing an election will make a significant effort to save the Doha Round would appear to be just about nil.

There is no doubt that Obama doesn’t want to antagonize unions any more than he already has going into an election year. The general public is also skeptical of new free trade agreements, so there would be no political incentive for a president of either party to pursue the completion of Doha. Another reason for not taking political risks on this issue is that completing the Doha round won’t make that much of a difference to the global economy. Homi Kharas discussed the Doha round last month. Kharas emphasized the benefits to developing economies from completing the Doha round, but then said this:

From a developing country perspective, completion of the Doha round is far more important than from the perspective of advanced countries. The actual computed static benefits of completing Doha are actually quite small, perhaps yielding an extra one-one thousandth of global GDP each year [bold mine-DL].

That’s not nothing, but in terms of overall global GDP it is not very much. It wouldn’t be enough for this or any other administration to make a major effort on behalf of this round of trade talks.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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