Last chance for Doha accord before US poll
Saturday 26 January 2008
Trade ministers from several key nations will meet during the World Economic Forum in Davos today. Although the gathering of 25 ministers from powers such as the United States, the UK, India, Brazil, Egypt, Norway and Canada is informal, they will be joined by the head of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, and the European trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson.
Despite many false dawns, hopes are running relatively high that some further progress can be made at the lunch meeting today. Sources close to the talks say that "more has been achieved in the trade talks than most people realise" and that the troublesome agriculture chapter of the Doha trade treaty is "almost completed". Problems still surround industrial tariffs and the liberalisation of service sectors in the developing world.
The WTO's Doha round of negotiations is running out of time. An outline of an agreement needs to be finalised by Easter if the talks are to completed with a formal treaty by the end of this year. This is regarded as essential because of the timing of the American elections in November. A new incumbent in the White House would almost certainly look afresh at the treaty, and Mr Mandelson has raised doubts about the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's attitude to free trade: "The things she's been saying reverberate around the world. This is the last year the Doha trade round can survive. There is little chance of a breakthrough after this president leaves office. People in the current administration tell me the US is turning into a protectionist country. It is a serious concern."
President George Bush is keen to see the negotiations completed before he leaves office, and those near the talks say that the participants should "capitalise on that commitment". It is thought that if progress is not made today and over the next few weeks, the Doha round itself will be in jeopardy.
scienceScientists find the answer to a question that even puzzled Darwin
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
arts + entsThe 'Friends' actor on his new role as campaigner on addiction issues
Geoffrey Macnab: The Wolf of Wall Street's account of white-collar excess is A Rake’s Progress on steroids
scienceThe new development in bio-printing technology could be used in the future to restore lost vision - though years of research still await
architectureThe design collective which has stuck two fingers up at the modernists will call it quits at Venice
... But if you’re one of those poor souls offended by Jennifer Lopez’s choice of leotard, Grace Dent wants you to get a bloody grip
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Colin Farrell reveals ‘affair’ with Elizabeth Taylor: 'She was my last romantic relationship'
Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
India-US row over escalates over arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York
Peter O'Toole: Tales of the late film icon
- 1 Facebook 'self-censorship': study records when you don't post to find more ways to share
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Vitamin pills are a waste of money, offer no health benefits and could be harmful - study
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£44999 - £60001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A Top Tier firm i...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Implementation...
£50000 - £65000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: My client deliver into the Investment Managemen...