Many observers are now pessimistic about the prospect of completing the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, at least in the short run. The realisation that so much remains to be negotiated before the forthcoming US presidential primaries and elections has raised the prospect of the Doha Round unravelling or drifting from later this year until the second half of 2009, at the earliest. Having described the developments in the Doha Round up to the issuance of the Chairman's texts in July 2007 this paper examines why reciprocal trade negotiations, whose success has been trumpeted in prior rounds, have run into so much trouble this time around. Four factors are identified in this regard and their implications for the near term prospects of completing the Doha Round discussed. Longer run lessons for policymaking are also spelt out. In particular it is argued that further multilateral trade initiatives should be designed with the following three attributes in mind: substantive relevance, political viability, and feasible implementation.