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Completing the Doha Round: The U.S. Political Realities James P. Durling Willkie Farr & Gallagher Asia WTO Research Network Taipei Conference April 24, 2006 Introduction Can we complete the Doha Round? Important shifts in U.S. political realities. Are the headlines correct?

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Completing the doha round the u s political realities l.jpg

Completing the Doha Round: The U.S. Political Realities

James P. Durling

Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Asia WTO Research Network

Taipei Conference

April 24, 2006

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


Introduction l.jpg

Introduction

  • Can we complete the Doha Round?

  • Important shifts in U.S. political realities.

  • Are the headlines correct?

  • Review where we stand in 2006.

  • Contrast 2006 with 1993, in the final stages of the Uruguay Round.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


The president l.jpg

Clinton: 1993

First term, with strong party backing

Focus on economics from beginning

Viewed trade as one of his key issues as a “new democrat”

Engaged in issues

Bush: 2006

Second term, with declining party support

Focus on security since 9/11 attacks

Realizes his entire legacy will be the Iraq War

Delegates most issues

The President

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


Presidential power l.jpg

Clinton: 1993

Trade and economic issues a priority

Approval ratings in the 40-50% range

Able to pressure Democrats

Aligned with Republicans on trade

Less partisan environment

Bush: 2006

Trade secondary to security issues

Approval ratings in the 30-40% range

No credibility with Democrats

Weaker Republican support for trade

Extremely partisan environment

Presidential Power

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


The ustr l.jpg

Kantor: 1993

Key political advisor, no trade experience

USTR from beginning

Signal of commitment to trade issues

Reputation for closing deals

Schwab: 2006

Trade technocrat with limited ties to Bush

Brand new in job

Portman to OBM signals lower priority

Less political experience

The USTR

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


The congress l.jpg

1993 Reality

Not an election year

Democratic control of both houses

House: D 258, R 176

Senate: D 57, R 43

D did not anticipate 1994 dramatic shift

2006 Reality

Election year

Republican control of both houses

House: R 232, D 202

Senate: R 55, D 45

R fear loss of control due to Bush problems

The Congress

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


The u s political scene l.jpg

1993 Reality

Stronger President, focused on trade

Confident Democrats

Non-election year

Less attention on GATT, implications

Fast track simply assumed;1993 extension passed House 295-126

2006 Reality

Weakened President, focused elsewhere

Nervous Republicans

Election year

Growing attention on WTO

Fast track at risk; lapsed 1994, 2002 passed House 215-212

The U.S. Political Scene

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


The status of the round l.jpg

The 1993 “Draft”

Dunkel had prepared complete draft in December 2001.

Set a clear context for the remaining issues.

Dunkel took the criticism, Sutherland closed the deal.

The 2006 “Draft”

No such draft yet; Lamy contemplating such a step.

Still very new in job, less experience than Dunkel.

Lamy has to close the deal.

The Status of the Round

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


The challenges to be met l.jpg

1993 Realities

Issues had been narrowed

Bringing areas within WTO disciplines

Developing countries less engaged

2006 Realities

Many issues still open with diverging interests

Tightening those disciplines

Developing countries more engaged

The Challenges to be Met

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


Differing political imperatives l.jpg

1993 Realities

Sense of momentum, need to finish

FTAs less prevalent

US focus on multilateralism

Clinton priority

Always had fast track authority

2006 Realities

Less momentum, legacy of Seattle

FTAs expanding

US dual track approach

Not a Bush priority

Fast track is running out of time

Differing Political Imperatives

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


Conclusions l.jpg

Conclusions

  • Weaker, less focused president; just replaced USTR at critical stage

  • More partisan Congress focused on WTO in an election year

  • More ground to cover, in more challenging international environment

  • Little momentum notwithstanding impending “fast track” deadline.

  • The headlines are correct, but actually understate the challenges in 2006

Willkie Farr & Gallagher


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