The Head of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, says a
successful outcome of the Doha Development Round will help blunt many
of the economic threats in the world. Lamy made his remarks at the
opening of a ministerial summit aimed at wrapping up world trade
talks. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from WTO headquarters in Geneva.
30 trade ministers are in Geneva for what is seen as a make-or-break
meeting. After seven years of negotiations, the ministers hope to
conclude an agreement, which will make trade fairer and boost economic
WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy says there has been enough foot-dragging. He says now it is time for action.
time has come to move from discussions to negotiations," Lamy said.
"We have talked the talk. We now have to walk the walk to finish the
Lamy says the WTO's 153 member states are within reach
of achieving an agreement. He says with patience and determination
this can happen. He says he can think of no stronger spur for action
than the threats facing the world economy.
He says the rising
cost of food, the high energy prices and turbulence in the financial
markets should be reason enough for governments to conclude a trade
"There is widespread recognition that a balanced outcome
of the Doha Round could in these circumstances provide a strong push to
stimulate economic growth, " Lamy noted, "providing better prospects
for development and ensuring a stable and more predictable trading
Some economists say a Doha deal could boost the world
economy by nearly $50 billion a year. But before that point can be
reached, key issues remain to be resolved.
countries are pushing for rich countries to make deep cuts in farm
subsidies and tariffs. The rich nations want the developing countries
to cut tariffs on industrial goods and services.
Representative Susan Schwab says Washington is committed to the outcome
of this round and will continue to be a leader. But, she adds, other
countries also must be willing to contribute more.
"To have a
meaningful development outcome to this round ... we know that we have
to secure meaningful new market access in agriculture, in manufacturing
and in services," Schwab said. "And, that is particularly true when it
comes to the interests of the developing countries involved and of the
rapidly emerging markets that are so key to this negotiation in terms
of their involvement and in terms of the contribution that they can
make to a successful outcome."
But many analysts say they are
not sure U.S. negotiators can deliver on a trade deal in the final
months of the Bush administration. They note the so-called fast-track
authority that allowed the White House to call for a straight
up-or-down vote on trade pacts expired more than a year ago.