Friday, April 15, 2011

WTO - Lamy wants to get negotiators to the confessional

Big nervousness in the air Tuesday, March 29 at the General Council meeting, the supreme body of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Usually patient and tireless, its director Pascal Lamy for the first time mentioned a possible failure of the Doha Round negotiations [launched in 2001]. And literally begged the members to consider the consequences of such an eventuality.

"I do not think it's time to make long speeches, he told delegates. It's time for you, especially for those who have the greatest responsibility in the system, thinking the costs of failure for the world economy and prospects for development of weaker countries that rely on a multilateral rules-based.

It is also time to think about consequences for everything we have built for seventy years. " With less than a month of the deadline to submit draft agreements, Pascal Lamy made a strong plea for countries to make one last effort and engage in negotiations in a spirit of "win-win". Since the differences seem insurmountable in the liberalization of tariffs on industrial goods - the U.S.

requires a decrease to 8% of the share of emerging countries, including China, Brazil and India - Pascal Lamy held a "confessional" next Monday for two weeks [of face-to-face with key members]. It will analyze the intentions of a representative sample of countries before deciding how to proceed.

The disagreements are deep in the files "Agriculture" and "Services", he added. He also wants to go ahead with publishing the draft agreement, which some countries deny. "Texts are not an end in itself," he replied. They do not replace negotiations. However, they can take stock of what is gained and what is not.

" In turn, delegates also expressed their exasperation. The U.S. ambassador to the WTO noted that the differences were many, before asking whether the publication of the draft agreement did not do more harm than good. China maintained its refusal to make further concessions on industrial goods.

"What is required of us beyond our capacity, even if we do everything to save the Doha Round," pleaded the Ambassador. In Brazil, the hour of truth has arrived. Delegate noted that countries express any differences, saying they will do nothing to reconcile the positions. "In this case, negotiations are useless," he said.

We are ready to make concessions if there is clear reciprocity from our partners. " As a reminder, meeting in Seoul last November, the G20 has asked its diplomats in Geneva to conclude the Doha Round negotiations in 2011. Newly emboldened, Pascal Lamy has set at the end of April the publication of draft compromise, then from July to December and the finalization of an agreement concluded by a Ministerial Conference in Geneva.

[He wants to achieve by 2012, an election year in the United States and France]. For now, negotiations are stalled and the positions remain the same until December 2008.

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