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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The history of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations is full of anecdotes on missed deadlines, failed ministerial conferences, and brinkmanship situations. Tactics such as walking away from the table or sleep-depriving night sessions are legendary in the context of attempting to overcome impasse in negotiations. This article traces and explains the recurrent deadlock in the Doha Round negotiations. It identifies four structural/contextual factors – ideas, institutions, interests, and information – as necessary for understanding and anticipating potential deadlocks. The article also offers a definition of deadlock, and discusses a set of factors highlighted in the international relations literature that explain the existence and persistence of deadlock. With the help of game theory, it then illustrates the challenges faced by actors during trade negotiations. The article concludes by outlining two general scenarios for the Doha Development Agenda and discusses their implications for the World Trade Organization.

Keywords: Tariffs and Trade, deadlock, Doha Round, trade negotiations, game theory, Doha Development Agenda, World Trade Organization, institutions, interests

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