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Monday, 02 May 2011

Members confront Doha deadlock with pledge to seek meaningful way out

WTO ambassadors endorsed on 29 April 2011 Director-General Pascal Lamy’s plan to consult delegations in Geneva and ministers around the world in the search for a different way of achieving a breakthrough in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations. They were clear about what they do not want and said they are open to ideas. Speaking in an informal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee, which oversees the negotiations in all topics, they were sobered by the chairs’ reports circulated on 21 April 2011. These reflected blockages in key areas of the talks but they also recorded how much has been achieved in almost 10 years of negotiations, which several speakers said should not be discarded. Mr Lamy, who chairs the committee, said he will report back to the membership at the next meeting on 31 May (see full statement here). Several speakers agreed with him that three options will not work: “business as usual” (continuing as before), “stopping and starting from scratch”, which some speakers called “rebooting” — “since the issues blocking progress today will be the same ones on the agenda tomorrow,” Mr Lamy said — and “ ‘Drifting away’ by wishing the issue would simply disappear.”

Source: WTO