Doha for dummies

Doha is sort of like ersatz or erstwhile. One of those words that you can vaguely define but when pressed for an accurate definition, you are left blushing or making things up.

With all the Davos talk and with me coming to the end of “The End of Poverty”, I figured do what my mum would always tell me to do: Go look it up.

So in keeping with my Kyoto, Mon Amour: 5 things you might not know about the Protocol

Ten things you may not know about the Doha round of trade talks. There is a lot of juicy stuff in there.

  1. Doha refers to the round of WTO trade negotiations that occured at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. The round was supposed to have occured in Seattle in 1999, but were disrupted by anti-globalization protests.
  2. My favorite part: The Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health which talks about public health, with special mention of HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB. A major point of the document is that member states have wiggle room when it comes to intellectual property in the face of national public health emergencies:

    [W]e affirm that the [Trips] Agreement can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO members’ right to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all.

  3. Other highlights:

    • Each member has the right to grant compulsory licences and the freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licences are granted.
    • [P]ublic health crises, including those relating to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other epidemics, can represent a national emergency or other circumstances of extreme urgency.

Where things all went pear-shaped:

Rich countries don’t want to give up their agricultural subsidies.
Poor countries don’t want to loosen their barriers to trade.

Also fyi: The G8 (aka Group of 8. Sounds so superhero-ish, no?) is Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States. It was the G7 until Russia joined in 1997.