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New hope for stalled world trade talks

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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

New hope for stalled world trade talks

A robust rebound in world trade and political progress at the G20 have set the stage for a renewed push to agree a global trade deal, according to top-ranking officials from the EU, US and China. EurActiv reports from the European Business Summit (EBS). The Doha round of trade talks is currently stalled but with trade up 10% this year and leaders praising the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for its success in containing protectionism, cautious optimism is emerging that the time may be ripe for a breakthrough. WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said the issue was discussed at the G20 summit in Toronto last week, where world leaders had a ''frank'' exchange for an hour and a half about the major obstacles to signing off on a new deal which some say would inject fresh stimulus to the recovering economy. Lamy said 80% of the work has been done and that the US, EU and China have made ''painful concessions'' but that thorny issues such as industrial tariffs, fisheries subsidies and the services sector remain. He said he hoped the progress made at the G20 summit would mean that ''political leaders are ready to engage in order to push through a deal''. However, he sounded a note of caution, noting there had been some unhelpful rhetoric on the issue since talks broke down in 2008.''Right now we are stuck because the big players are trading words instead of concessions. They are talking instead of negotiating,'' Lamy told a European Business Summit session on trade.

Source: Euractiv