Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Resurrection Idea for Doha

First, the World Trade Organization had an idea 10 years ago to improve on the unfinished business of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations – with special attention paid to the protective agriculture sector. But the United States quashed that effort earlier this year.

Then WTO Director General Pascal Lamy had an idea for members to agree on what they could agree upon and get those issues in place by the time of the next ministerial meeting in December. But, apparently, the United States could not agree on anything. So that fell through.

Now there has been some talk from Mr. Lamy’s office about coming up with a non-Doha Development Agenda agenda of issues for December. Nobody knows what that is about.

But don’t fell downtrodden. Here’s the latest alternative to a multilateral trade agreement. Te latest WTO idea is a video contest on the future of world trade. That should solve the world’s trade problems.

WTD has some suggestions –

1. A slow Olympics-type opening ceremony of the 153 delegations in the WTO – all in business suits, not native dress – slowly marching around the playing field. And all to the music of Mahler’s Symphony No 1 "funeral" march – which gradually speeds up in tempo. Toward the end the marchers straighten out – all under the leadership of US Trade Representative Ron Kirk. They suddenly charge – at an increasingly fast pace – toward the horizon where all disappear over a cliff.

2. A second scenario rivals the great 1963 film by Any Warhol entitled "Sleeping" – which is five and on half hours of a person sleeping. That should get the message across. (I didn’t last through it in 1963 because I think I fell asleep during the midnight show at the Janus in Washington.)

3. A third – and perhaps best – scenario is a blank black screen overlaid by various remarks on Doha made by the WTO Director Generals since 2001.

The winner apparently gets an all-expense paid trip to Geneva to watch the December ministerial – WOW.

Here’s the link to the video application:

Jim Berger

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