The suspension of the WTO Doha round of negotiations in July is likely to mean a significant delay in the conclusion of the trade round. Some have even suggested, pessimistically, that it is the beginning of its demise.
If history is any indicator of the pace of progress, however, the slow pace of Doha is not unprecedented. It took eight years (between 1986 and 1994) for the conclusion of the Uruguay Round talks.
Under a best case scenario for Doha, with substantial progress by March 2007 leading to an extension of the President’s authority to negotiate in July , a final agreement might be attainable in early 2008. That would put the Doha Round, which began in 2000, on the same time-table as the Uruguay Round. Again, this is a very optimistic scenario, but it highlights the urgent need for keeping the talks alive to bring about an agreement which has the potential to offer significant market access gains for U.S. producers.