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Cancun Revisited


Code : ITF0006

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Industry : General Business

Region : :Null

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Introduction: Mike Moore’s ecstatic comment came at the close of theWTO’s Doha Ministerial meet in 2001. One report described the Doha trade talks “as the best response to September 11.As we are trying to push democracy, we should also try to spread freedom in commerce and trade”2 Amongst other things, the Ministerial meet marked a turning point in the relations between the developed and the developing world.

The sequel to Doha came in the form of the September 2003 Cancun (Mexico) Summit (Exhibit I). The success ofCancunMinisterialwas very important.MikeMoorewas emphatic: “We must and we will succeed.”

According to theWorld Bank, complete liberalisation ofmerchandise trade and elimination of subsidies could add $1.5 trillion to the developing countries’ incomes. It had the capacity to reshape the world’s trading system by removing barriers to trade. It could reportedly raise global incomes by as much as $2.8 trillion over the next decade. As a result, the number of poor people living in developing countries would have come down by 300 million by 2015.

Such hopes were dashed as Cancun turned out to be a repeat of Seattle (trade talks of 1999) rather than a mirror of the success at Doha. Seattle failed due to deep differences between the US and the EU besides the chaotic atmosphere caused by demonstrators outside the conference venue. Cancun, on the other hand fizzled out due to the rift between the developed and the developing world. Differences centered mainly around three issues: agricultural issues, Singapore issues andWTO’s decision-making procedures

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