Resurrecting WTO free trade talks: Doha Round not dead

07-08-2006 | |

Several smaller players in the World Trade Organisation are working to resurrect negotiations on a global free-trade pact.

New Zealand’s Trade Minister Phil Goff has personally called US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorin, and Pascal Lamy, the WTO director general, to suggest renewed talks for the Doha Round.

The talks collapsed late in July, in large part due to bitter disagreement between the US and the EU over tariff and subsidy levels related primarily to agricultural products.

Goff suggested talks be rescheduled to coincide with either the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation talks in Malaysia in November, or a less formal meeting of Asian economic ministers in Malaysia later this month. Goff said that Schwab had indicated that both she and Agriculture Minister Mike Johanns plan to be at both of those events.

Goff said the talks are not quite dead, as has been reported. “It’s on ice,” he said. “There’s a possibility of resurrection.”