Doha Deathwatch


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.