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A new Business Week article, Free Trade: Forget the Fast Lane, argues that the whole business has become way too complex and says that the only chance for success is to simplify and go slower.

"Doha has become a Rubik's Cube of interlocking parts, few of which are aligned. France has balked at trimming subsidies to its inefficient farmers and threatens to capsize a modest European Union subsidy-trimming plan. Developing nations, led by Brazil and India, threaten to retain import barriers and keep making knockoff pharmaceuticals and software. The upshot is that Doha is pinned under the weight of its own ambitions.”

Kim Elliott, a joint fellow at CGD and the Institute for International Economics (IIE) argues in the article favor of aiming lower to increase the chance of success.

"Each side could agree to take something off the table," she says.

I’m all in favor of simplification.

Kim’s crisp Q&A on trade this week offers some much-needed clarity about issues that are so complex that even our experts here at CGD have trouble making sense of them.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.