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Overhauling the WTO: Opportunity at Doha and Beyond

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The world's trade ministers, who will meet at a WTO ministerial in November 2001 in Doha, Qatar, are wrong to think that only a new round of negotiations will save the much-maligned international trade system. Carnegie senior associates John Audley and Ann M. Florini argue that they should, instead, simultaneously tackle internal and external reform of the WTO to make it a truly equitable institution. Internally, industrial countries must start treating developing countries as equal partners in making the rules that govern global trade, and where necessary provide technical assistance to make that equality possible. Externally, to satisfy legitimate public demands, members should improve the transparency of WTO proceedings and permit public participation in keeping with international norms. These changes, however, will occur only when national leaders link internal and external reform objectives--a step that will require leadership from key countries as well as the WTO Secretariat.