Monday, November 30, 2009

Calling the WTO to action, again

Before the World Trade Organization meetings began, a coalition of 100 developing nations called on the powers that be to agree to a new world trade pact. The coalition wants the WTO negotiators to pass a world trade deal by 2010, but previous deadlines have come and gone without any action.

From this AFP article that is hosted at Google News, we found out more about the coalition's statement, and who they believe is standing in the way.

Launched in the Qatari capital in 2001, the Doha Round aims at lifting developing countries out of poverty by striking an accord that will cut agriculture subsidies and tariffs on industrial goods.

However, negotiations have been dogged by disagreements on how much major trading blocs such as the United States and the European Union should reduce aid to their farmers and the extent to which developing countries such as India, China and South Africa should lower tariffs on industrial products.

"There is urgent need to translate political statements into concrete engagements in Geneva in order to accomplish the shared objective of concluding the Round in 2010," said the statement issued after a meeting between G20 ministers.

Without naming names, Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim pointed in particular to "one country which is stopping us from moving forward."

However, another Latin American diplomat was more explicit, saying: "We clearly lack an explicit position from one of the most important members of the negotiations. We are of course talking about the United States."

He added that the WTO ministerial meeting "should pressure" Barack Obama's administration to take a deeper engagement on trade talks.

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