Sunday, July 16, 2006

World Bank, China urge progress in Doha trade talks

(Source Article: WB urges G8 to reach trade deal - WB news)

The World Bank’s President recently sent a letter to the G8 richest nations encouraging them to finalize an agreement in the Doha trade talks when they meet on Monday, the 17th. The President informed them that the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg is an opportune time to make great progress in the Doha talks, and work to remove millions from poverty and improve growth in emerging economies. The Doha talks, beginning in 2001, aim to remove trade barriers around the world and improve access to global markets.

Experts believe the G8 Summit is the last chance that world leaders have at keeping the Doha talks alive, given recent deadlocked talks in Geneva. Still, some fear that there is not enough political interest for the talks to make any real progress. One of the primary problems frustrating progress is the debate over agricultural subsidies and tariffs – the rich nations have failed to agree with the developing nations over these issues. (see G8 summit may be last gasp for Doha trade talks - Market Watch)

Additionally, the spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce called upon the EU and the US to provide the political clout necessary for the Doha talks to move forward. China hopes that the US and the EU can organize the negotiation pattern soon so that the talks can be completed by year’s end. China also expressed its dissatisfaction with the WTO’s failure to reach a deal at an informal ministerial meeting recently in Geneva. (see China urges US, EU to push forward Doha talks - China Daily)

Despite a lack of progress so far, the World Bank remains hopeful, pointing out that there have been plenty of trade talks in the past that faltered but then revived and concluded successfully. The EU Trade Commissioner said the US should be the first to break the talks from their current deadlock: “The [developing nations] want steeper cuts in US farm subsidies before accepting required cuts in industrial goods. Washington can unlock this by stepping forward with a better offer. If this happens, the EU will at the same time meet them both with a strengthened offer.”

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