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Breakthrough in global trade talks a matter of months: WTO chief

Breakthrough in global trade talks a matter of months: WTO chief

Negotiations to conclude the Doha round of global trade talks are again under way, and a breakthrough may be made in the coming months, World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy said Friday.
"After a period of suspension, negotiating engines are buzzing again," Lamy said in a speech to members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the capital Manila.
"With additional effort on agriculture, a conclusion is doable ... (to) open the last stages of talks. When? My own sense is that it is a question of months, not quarters," he said.
After Lamy's speech, a handful of anti-globalization protesters forced their way into the hotel ballroom where the forum was being held and chanted "Pascal Lamy get out, get out." Hotel security eventually removed the protesters.
Lamy is in Manila as part of a two-country tour to spur major WTO members toward concluding the Doha round this year. He was in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday.
Lamy said the main issues are agricultural subsidies and tariffs, industrial tariffs, and trade and services.
"All parties need to make a greater contribution, starting with agriculture ... if we are to reach a result, all members have to move," he said.
"No one should be asked to undertake disproportionate commitments. Each country will have to make its contribution, with big players contributing more than the smaller and weaker ones."
He said it was important the talks be concluded before the July 1 expiry of the U.S. Trade Promotion Authority, which gives U.S. President George Bush the power to fast track approval of international trade deals.
The Doha round, launched in November 2001, has faltered on disagreements over agricultural subsidies and tariffs.
The Philippines and Indonesia are members of the Group of 33 developing countries, or G-33, a 45-member trade bloc trying to protect its agricultural sectors from the potentially harmful removal of existing import tariffs.


Updated : 2021-10-22 14:40 GMT+08:00