Bye-Bye Seattle, Hello Doha

A new agenda to remove major barriers to world trade has been sealed by 142 nations in the Qatar capital of Doha. That's a big victory in the war on protectionism - and on American unilateralism.

In fact, the Bush administration did some crafty diplomacy both on Capitol Hill and at Doha to win compromises for a deal. Now, Congress will need to give the president full authority to negotiate the details over the next three years of talks.

Unlike two years ago in Seattle, where a meeting to expand the World Trade Organization collapsed with street riots, the "Doha Development Agenda" was completed peacefully and with full consensus.

Some of the trade-offs made will help the poor countries. After Sept. 11, the world realizes it can't ignore the poverty that can lead to violent resentments. Europe will need to reduce farm subsidies, while the US should curb its antidumping laws.

Ironing out the details by 2004 won't be easy. But every nation should realize that the removal of trade barriers over the last half century has expanded trade 14-fold, improving the lives of billions of people.

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