Davos and the never-ending Doha round

January 28, 2011

This year’s World Economic Forum offers not one but two meetings of trade ministers on the never-ending Doha round. Besides the traditional Saturday lunch hosted by Switzerland on Saturday, this year featuring 26 ministers plus WTO chief Pascal Lamy, the EU is holding a dinner on Friday for the G7 – that’s the trade G7: Australia, Brazil, China, EU, India, Japan and USA.

The meetings may attract some interest as this year is seeing a renewed push to conclude the Doha round, now in its 10th year, after leaders of the G20 (that’s the financial G20 not the trade G20) said 2011 was a window of opportunity.

For those who think this might join a long list of missed deadlines, I offer this story from Jean-Pierre Lehmanne, founder of

The Evian Group at the IMD business school in Lausanne:

Barack Obama has an appointment with God and asks Him, “when will the US deficit be reduced”. God replies, “Not in your lifetime”, and Obama begins to cry.

Angela Merkel meets with God and asks Him, “when will the Euro zone be sturdy”. God replies, “Not in your lifetime”, and Merkel begins to cry.

Hu Jintao goes to see God (yes!!) and asks Him, “when will the province of Taiwan be reunited with the fatherland”. God replies, “Not in your lifetime”, and Hu begins to cry.

And then Pascal Lamy shows up and asks God, “when will the Doha Round be concluded”. And God begins to cry.

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