9 Nov 2007 All day CRASSH


Dr Amrita Narlikar (University Lecturer, Centre of International Studies)
David Hornsby (PhD Candidate, Centre of Interational Studies)

The current round of negotiations in the World Trade Organization – the Doha Development Agenda – has run into deadlock after deadlock. Despite the clear social, economic, and political benefits of alleviating poverty through the further liberalization of economic markets, states have so far failed to reach consensus on the completion of the agreement or even the modalities towards that completion. The objective of this one-day workshop is to bring together expertise from the disciplines of Political Science, Law, History, and Economics on the issue of deadlocks in trade and ways to break them.


Deadlock is an outcome and a process that needs to be better understood in the trade context. Rooted in negotiation analysis (itself an inter-disciplinary sub-field), some presentations will draw directly on writings in this area to apply existing concepts in negotiation analysis to the trade case and further advance new concepts. The workshop will also take into account factors that lie outside the scope of traditional negotiation analysis, such as the role of international institutions (including formal and informal processes within the WTO that have contributed to the current problems), changing international context (including polarity and balances of power), and the extent to which the recurrent deadlock of the DDA has been a conflict of ideas (as independent explanatory variables rather than ciphers of power).


The first part of the conference will bring together different theoretical perspectives on the issue of deadlock. We have leading experts from four different disciplines, all of whom will be addressing the concept of deadlock, causes of deadlock, and their disciplinary insights into ways out of deadlock. Also in the first session, some attention will be paid to the systemic implications of the DDA deadlocks, including the challenge of regionalism.


Set against this theoretical background, the second session of the conference will delve into the specific causes of deadlock in the recent trade negotiations and possible solutions. One of the papers, for instance, will deal specifically with the question of the North-South divide in the current trade negotiations process; another will examine the role of framing and ideas in having contributed to the deadlock and ways out of it.


The last hour of the workshop will be reserved for a closed-door discussion on publication plans and research dissemination.


Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge
Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk