Will Doha conclude in 2011?

ECIPE is hosting an online symposium asking “Will the Doha round be concluded in 2011?”

Most of the answers are in the negative. Frank Lavin simply says: “No“, because the political will isn’t present. Claude Barfield says that the recent flurry of activity in Geneva hasn’t been matched by an uptick in interest in Washington, though the Obama administration could always shift its position.

Jeff Schott, whose piece carries the most optimistic headline, “Substantial progress can be made“, writes:

Substantial progress can be made in 2011 on a Doha Round agreement. Even under the best of circumstances, however, the end game negotiations could not be concluded this year.

The reason for this downbeat assessment is simple. Despite the positive charge from G-20 leaders in Seoul last November, and despite technical work undertaken by Geneva officials since then, the major trading nations have not yet begun to negotiate with each other.