Doha Deathwatch

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The Doha round of WTO negotiations, launched in 2001 to lower trade barriers around the world, is locked in stalemate. Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute yesterday, Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said it was time to get out and move on:

"The US and the EU have irreconcilable differences on trade, and when you have irreconcilable differences the best thing you can do is call it off," said Mr Thomas, Republican chairman of the influential House ways and means committee, who will retire from Congress this year.

He also warned about the growing influence of protectionism in the US, saying the "anti-free trade forces" were poised to capture control of Congress in this year's election.

"For anyone hoping for a significant conclusion to the Doha round, my apologies," he said on Monday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. "Whatever the last whiney note is at the Doha round, we should soldier on, but it should not be where the US puts the majority of its resources.

"I don't know the exact day the music stopped, but it stopped and we need to get off the merry-go-round," he added.

When talks in Cancun collapsed in 2003, Reason's Ron Bailey was there.

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  1. poised to capture control of Congress

    Oh yeah…THIS Congress is all about Free Trade. Uh huh…

  2. Wait, wait, you mean to tell me that maintaining majority status by whipping up irrational populist anger has a downside?

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED!

  3. “The US and the EU have irreconcilable differences on trade, and when you have irreconcilable differences the best thing you can do is call it off,” said Mr Thomas

    So, divorce is a good thing?

  4. If any of these government types actually believed in free trade, there would be no negotiating. They’d just do it.
    Rather they turn it into a perpetual pissing contest.

  5. Just lower our trade barriers and be done with it. Let us reap the rewards while the Euros drown in their damn welfare states.

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