Jun 3, 2008

New Blow For WTO Negotiations

The Chair of the negotiations on non-agtricultural market access has suspended talks

The move by Canada's WTO ambassador Don Stephenson, who chairs the industry negotiations, deals a potentially heavy blow to the WTO's Doha round just as the long-running talks enter a crucial phase.
But it could also be a last-ditch attempt by Stephenson to jolt rich and poor countries out of their entrenched positions, given the possibility in the next few weeks of a meeting of ministers to clinch an outline global trade deal.
"It is... my intention to convene no further meetings until members signal to me that they have achieved some convergence on the issues and that they would like an opportunity to bring that convergence to the wider membership," Stephenson, who chairs the industrial goods talks, told delegations.

This would seem to count out the possibility of a June Ministerial meeting. We hope we are wrong but we are very dubious about July also. We think that Phil Goff is doing the right thing and taking the time to reach his own conclusions on what is going on in Geneva.