Lack of political will holding up WTO conclusion: Pascal Lamy
Updated on Sunday, January 29, 2012, 17:48 Print Email Bookmark and Share
Lack of political will holding up WTO conclusion: Pascal Lamy
Davos: With not much movement towards concluding the decade old Doha Round, WTO chief Pascal Lamy said that lack of political will on part of member countries is holding the global trade deal.

"You need a lot of political energy to do things multilaterally and it`s not just available, he said and added, "It`s in short supply, just as it is in climate change."

Instead of concentrating on the WTO talks, Lamy said government leaders are focusing their energies on bilateral talks and regional arrangements, such as the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership comprising of the US, Australia, Vietnam, Peru and four other countries.

He was speaking during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, which concluded on Sunday.

The WTO`s new strategy on Doha is to set aside the big issues for now and instead concentrate on small wins, such as agreements on relatively uncontroversial trade areas like trade facilitation, WEF quoted Lamy as saying.

The WTO will stay in the quiet mode for now, get things done and build confidence that the organisation can then tackle the big issues, he added.

Launched in Qatari capital in 2001, the Doha Round involves all 153 member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The talks have been held back due to differences between the rich and the developing countries over issues such as agriculture, services and intellectual property, and the advent of the global financial crisis in 2008.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said that his country has not given up on the Doha Round, but the reality is that it is easier to negotiate bilateral agreements, which can create more jobs and bring benefits to the two parties.

India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) have meanwhile underscored the need for resisting protectionism in the current economic scenario.

European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said that the problem is certainly political within WTO.

"Doha round began 10 years ago. The emerging economies have largely emerged since then. Not just China, even India and Brazil have emerged as major players on global platform," he added.

Despite the long delay, trade ministers and business leaders are not giving up on the trade negotiations, but they admit it is not in the best of health, the statement added.

"Doha is not dead," Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson said, adding, "I think there is enough life in the Doha Round to persist with it."

PTI
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