Post-Doha Challenges for the WTO
The drive towards globalization and liberalized international trade has encountered numerous obstacles. In negotiations between the member nations of the World Trade Organization following the Doha conference of 2001, agriculture and pharmaceuticals have proved to be two particularly contentious areas, both of which underscore the chasm separating the richest nations from the poorest. Shinzo Kobori, distinguished research fellow at the Institute for International Policy Studies in Tokyo, analyses the problems that have inhibited multilateral agreement and examines the reasons why several larger and more affluent countries are tending to opt for bilateral or regional trade agreements. On a more optimistic note, Kobori cautiously welcomes multilateral progress in facilitating access to life-saving drugs for the inhabitants of the world's poorest nations. However, he cautions that Japan needs to shed its intransigence--both in bilateral and multilateral negotiations--in order to fully reap the benefits of liberalized international trade.