Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Aug08/10)
Lamy and Lula trying to create mood to re-start WTO talks
Geneva, 5 Aug (Martin Khor) -- WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy is making efforts to get the Doha negotiations going again, with visits to political leaders in India and the United States planned in the next few weeks.
will be in
also told the Business Standard (
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has announced that he
is taking initiatives to re-start the
Lamy, speaking about the impasse over a special safeguard mechanism (SSM) in agriculture which broke the WTO talks in Geneva last week, said that he remained "convinced we can find a compromise" and that he would discuss this with Indian officials in Delhi next week and with the US the week after that.
G. K. Pillai,
refusal of the
Another bone of contention was the insistence of the US, European Union and Japan that key developing countries such as India and China take part in "sectoral initiatives" in NAMA whereby they agree to eliminate tariffs in some sectors such as automobiles, chemicals, electrical and electronic products, and textiles.
While one Indian newspaper said that the Lamy visit "may break the ice on WTO", the realistic view is that it would be very difficult to create the conditions for another WTO Ministerial-level meeting anytime soon, especially since so many of the 30-plus Ministers who came were frustrated with their not having an active involvement, being forced to wait for days while the seven WTO members held their own negotiations.
4 August, Mr. Pillai told journalists in
report quoted Pillai as saying that an agreement on the Doha Round was
likely only around 2010, given the impending
He added that Indian industry feels that the current NAMA proposals would result in a disproportionate impact on certain key and relatively labour-intensive sectors, which are dominated by small and medium sized businesses. He reiterated the government's concern on NAMA proposals such as the anti-concentration clause and sectorals.
said that he would also speak to Chinese President Hu Jintao this weekend
at the opening of the Olympic Games in
"It is difficult to imagine a rapid restart of the negotiations. Global ambition is missing. One should expect a longer, more fragmented process," she told La Croix newspaper.
According to Lamy, the Australian Prime Minister and the Brazilian President have indicated that they would help to re-start the talks.
The New Zealand Trade Minister Phil Goff, describing the talks' collapse as "intensely disappointing", said an agreement won't be finalised until at least the second half of 2009. +