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.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...