Potential of Doha accord ?has been overstated?

Monday, September 25, 2006

This month?s Singapore meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and the largely inconclusive meeting of trade ministers that finished on Thursday in Cairns, Australia, rang with the ritual claim that the suspended Doha trade talks had the ability to lift millions out of poverty.

But experts note that these claims appear increasingly oversold, amid sharp downward revisions of estimates of the effects of trade liberalisation in reducing poverty.

Writing recently in the Wall Street Journal, Gordon Brown, the UK chancellor who chairs the IMF?s ministerial committee, argued: ?Expansion in trade is almost entirely positive for both big, maturing economies and emerging markets hoping to escape poverty. Recent estimates by the World Bank suggest further trade liberalisation could lift up to 95m people out of extreme poverty.?

The bank?s estimate of a 95m fall would be a reduction of just below 5 per cent of the nearly 2bn people expected to be living on less than $2 a day by 2015.

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Source: Financial Times (link opens in a new window)