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Uneven and Combined Development in the Doha Stalemate

By Mehdi Abbas


International audienceThis article analyses the stalling of the Doha Development Agenda, and its systemic and institutional consequences through the lens of the French school of international economic relations and Régulation Theory. In theses approaches, states and their economic roles are put to the fore, as a superior alternative to the dominant approaches to world trade with their free trade biasses. It aims to avoid a mono-causal explanation for trade talk deadlocks. In doing so, one of its objectives is to provide a comprehensive approach that integrates the co-evolution of the International Political Economy’s structures and institutions. This paper argues that the DDA stalemate is due to an institution-structure mismatch. This institution-structure mismatch depends on the way the content and hierarchy of the institutional forms that define states’ accumulation strategies are related to the principles and operating modes of the WTO regime. In this article, we reckon that the failure of this articulation is due to a change in the hierarchy of the institutional forms of the neoliberal accumulation regime that have occurred during the DDA. In particular, we stress the systemic and institutional consequences of the emerging of new trade powers. The failure of the articulation lies in three distinct conflicts. These are the results of how WTO member states coordinate and construct the social interdependences between the main parameters of the multilateral trading system (non discrimination, reciprocity and balance of power) and their national accumulation strategies. The first conflict is related to the dysfunctioning of the WTO competitive multilateralism, which is due to the erosion of non discrimination and reciprocity in the context of the rise of new trade powers. The second one stresses the failure to build an operational compromise articulating development and ‘globalization’, i.e. the difficulty to coordinate multilateral openness and new trade and power balance. The third one lies in the difficulty to reach a compromise between historical and emerging capitalisms. It is the consequence of the effect of the new balance of power on the reciprocity exchange of concessions. The outcome of these conflicts will determine the institutional configuration of the post-Doha WTO agenda

Topics: special and differential treatment, multilateral trade governance, institution-structure mismatch, Emerging economy, State preferences, competitive multilateralism, JEL: F - International Economics/F.F1 - Trade/F.F1.F13 - Trade Policy • International Trade Organizations, JEL: F - International Economics/F.F5 - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy/F.F5.F55 - International Institutional Arrangements, JEL: F - International Economics/F.F0 - General/F.F0.F02 - International Economic Order and Integration, [SHS.ECO]Humanities and Social Sciences/Economics and Finance
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing
Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:halshs-01571921v1
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