Analysis

The dragon in the room: US trade policy after the Doha Round

23 Feb 2012
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Regions: 
Asia,
Multilateral

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  • With the Doha Round of world trade negotiations now effectively dead after ten years of talks the US is looking for ways to reboot the basis of its trade policy. The US is attempting to regain the leverage over China and the other BRICs it believes it has lost in the WTO.
  • Over the next decade US trade policy will involve a proliferation of initiatives outside the multilateral negotiating machinery of the WTO.  The most important of these is the Trans-Pacific Partnership which intends to advance liberalization in China’s economic backyard in a way that is designed to put China at an explicit disadvantage and rebuild leverage over the long term. Other initiatives such as an EU-US FTA will have the same goal.
  • This strategy of negotiating with China by not negotiating with China is uncertain at best, with Asian partners reluctant to be drawn into an explicit challenge to the regional hegemon, and China unlikely to be forced into reform or market opening on any timetable but its own.

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