INDEPENDENT NEWS

Future of the WTO round in the balance

Published: Fri 21 Oct 2005 08:45 AM
Future of the WTO round in the balance
Trade ministers are looking to the European Union to show leadership at a critical point in the Doha Development Round negotiations, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.
Mr Sutton said that if World Trade Organisation ministers did not get break-through on agricultural market access within the next week, the round was at risk.
Other countries would be called upon to make significant commitments in other areas such as non-agricultural market access and services, but agriculture was the key to achieving success in the round.
Mr Sutton, speaking at the FIPs-plus meeting in Geneva, said that time was running out to get a consensus on major issues before the Hong Kong World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting in December.
The meeting of the Five Interested Parties (FIPs) broke up yesterday after the European Union was unable to better its offer to open up agricultural markets.
“When I was in Geneva last week we all thought we were making progress – there was a significant movement towards cutting farm subsidies. But it was clear that unless that was matched by an opening up of markets everything could fall by the wayside.”
Mr Sutton said today’s meeting was sobering, all the more so because of the very limited time before the crucial Hong Kong meeting.
All WTO Members have committed to a substantial improvement in market access and this was reaffirmed by the EU recently. However, the talk is not matched by action. Until this happens it is hard to see where we go from here.
“We have days not weeks to avert a crisis.”
Mr Sutton went to Geneva at short notice to attend the FIPs-plus meeting. He has also met with United States trade representative Rob Portman, Brazilian minister Celso Amorim, and Canadian ministers Jim Peterson and Andy Mitchell.

Next in New Zealand politics

Government To Phase Out Live Exports By Sea
By: New Zealand Government
New Zealand’s New Housing Policy Is Really Just A New Tax Package — And It’s A Shambles
By: The Conversation
Emissions Report Shows Urgent Action Needed
By: New Zealand Government
ACC’s Policy Of Not Covering Birth Injuries Is One More Sign The System Is Overdue For Reform
By: The Conversation
Police Accept Findings Of IPCA Report Into Photographs Taken At Checkpoint
By: New Zealand Police
Drug-testing Law To Be Made Permanent
By: New Zealand Government
Emotive Live Export Ban A Kick In The Guts
By: ACT New Zealand
World Leading Live Export Ban Means Thousands Of Animals Will No Longer Suffer Overseas
By: SAFE NZ
Feds: Live Export Ban 'surprising'
By: Federated Farmers
NZ Becomes First In World For Climate Reporting
By: New Zealand Government
Photographs Taken At Police Checkpoint Unlawful
By: Independent Police Conduct Authority
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media