Crunch time (again) for Doha, warns International Business Forum

by | Mar 30, 2011 | Media Releases

The global community – including New Zealand – has every interest in redoubling efforts to conclude the World Trade Organisation’s Doha negotiations by the end of this year, says the New Zealand International Business Forum.

“The WTO remains New Zealand’s top trade priority, but there are indications from Geneva this week that the machinery of the Doha negotiation is getting stuck” said NZIBF Executive Director Stephen Jacobi.

In Geneva yesterday (29 March) WTO Director General Pascal Lamy admitted that the negotiation was “off target”[1].  He said gaps remain too wide in a range of issues to enable the completion of revised draft negotiating texts by Easter (the weekend of 24-25 April).

“Negotiating deadlines can be somewhat arbitrary but this one is serious: if this technical work cannot be completed in April there is little time to develop a political consensus around the shape of a final deal before the northern summer so that a final package can be presented to Ministers at their scheduled meeting in December.”

In various statements from the G20 and APEC Leaders have committed themselves to concluding the round this year.

“Business has already lost patience with Doha.  That’s why more attention is focused today on regional free trade negotiations like the Trans Pacific Partnership.  But only Doha can deal effectively with issues like agricultural subsidies.  And the WTO provides the legal framework for the entire global trading system.  It cannot be allowed to be weakened by a lack of political will on the part of the world’s leading economies.”

Mr Jacobi said NZIBF supported efforts by Trade Minister Tim Groser and his officials to help forge the consensus necessary to get the negotiations back on track.

[1] http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news11_e/tnc_dg_infstat_29mar11_e.htm

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