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EU's de Gucht unsure over Doha conclusion this year

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

EU's de Gucht unsure over Doha conclusion this year

The European Union's trade commissioner-designate said on Tuesday he was unsure whether world leaders would achieve their pledge to complete the Doha round of global trade talks this year. The G20 group of rich and emerging economies pledged last year to conclude the Doha talks, aimed at liberalising global trade, in 2010 in a bid to kickstart dwindling trade flows hit by the worst financial crisis in nearly 80 years. "I'm personally confident that we are going to conclude the Doha round - whether it will be in 2010 or 2011... I am quite confident about it", Karel de Gucht told a European Parliament hearing. "We are agreeing on 90% of the topics we have to address in Doha... there is no alternative to Doha", he told the assembly, which votes on Jan. 26 on whether to approve a new European Commission line-up for a five-year term. The talks have stumbled since their inception in 2001 but G20 leaders, buoyed by a new U.S. administration under Barack Obama and facing pressure from a global economic downturn, reignited hopes of reaching a deal last year. Estimates of the value of a Doha deal, which would be phased over several years, vary. Major trading powers, however, see the conclusion of the talks as a major step towards reinvigorating global trade and injecting some energy into the world economy.

Source: The Guardian