Analysts Question Relevance, Adaptability of the WTO
The ministerial conference will include more than two dozen ministers from the WTO's 162 member nations. The talks follow failed negotiations that took place in Geneva earlier this year, and will begin their four-day stint roughly where the Geneva talks concluded.
This, in turn, has led nations to strike out on their own to create trade deals that either partially or wholly do not fall under the WTO's governance. The US has set out to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 12 Pacific Rim nations. The EU and the United States have jointly worked on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. A number of other agreements have also taken place between WTO members outside of the jurisdiction of the WTO, itself.
According to Darlington Mwape, Senior Fellow at the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development, the "Doha Round is not addressing the current needs of its members.” He added, “unless we adjust the mandate of the Doha round to include other relevant issues, it may turn out to be irrelevant."
According to Bloomberg Business, the discussion during the Nairobi meeting may revolve around the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). This agreement represented a compromise deal designed to improve customs procedures for goods exported from the world's least-developed nations. The WTO believes this could increase merchandise exports by as much as $1 trillion a year. However, at least two-thirds of the WTO's members need to consent for the Trade Facilitation Agreement to pass. If it passes, the Agreement could cut global trade costs by as much as 17.5 percent
Still, few believe such results are possible from this week's talks. William Mwanza, of the Tralac Trade Law Centre said of the meeting: "You wouldn't really expect that the contentious issues will be resolved next week ... It's taken 15 years, and in the past week there hasn't really been so much progress, so you wouldn't really expect much next week."