Friday, September 04, 2009

"Imperative" to complete Doha round of free trade talks

The chief trade talker for the U.S. is saying all the right things on the eve of new global trade talks. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says it's "imperative" to reach a global trade deal in light of the economic recession.

From this story in the Mail and Guardian, we see this update of the preliminary talks being held in New Delhi.

President Barack Obama's top trade envoy said the US believed bilateral and multilateral discussions were needed for agreement in the eight-year-old World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha round, which has been dogged by failure.

He declined to reaffirm 2010 as the deadline for concluding the trade deal, saying that "substance will drive this process, not setting a deadline and timeline".

"The toughest part of a marathon is the last two miles, there is a lot of hard work to be done," he said.

Wealthy nations, including the US, and emerging nations agreed at a summit in July to try to conclude the Doha Development Round in 2010.

Ministers agreed on Friday to resume high-level talks in Geneva on September 14 in a move hailed as a "breakthrough" by Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma.

Kirk praised India for taking the initiative to host the meeting, which was aimed at setting out a roadmap for concluding the Doha round that seeks to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and boost world commerce.

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