From the WTO, Reports

By July 21, 2008Trade

USTR passes on the tip that the WTO is webcasting the Doha sessions in Geneva this week. Go here, logically enough:

Director-General Pascal Lamy opened the sessions at an informal meetings of the heads of delegations where the talk turned to the establishment of modalities in Agriculture and NAMA, “modalities” being the “nuts and bolts—such as formulas or approaches for tariff reductions—that underpin each country’s final commitments.” (From a USDA set of trade definitions.) NAMA is the Non-Agricultural Market Access talks, the portion of the negotiations that manufacturers are focusing on.

That being explained, here’s Lamy:

I can think of no stronger spur for our action than the threats which are facing the world economy across several fronts, including rises in food prices and energy prices and financial market turbulences. There is widespread recognition that a balanced outcome of the Doha Round could in these circumstances provide a strong push to stimulate economic growth, providing better prospects for development and ensuring a stable and more predictable trading system. Heads of State and Government across the world have repeatedly expressed their overwhelming commitment to this endeavour, and we must not let this opportunity slip.

And from Barron’s, two apt and accurate paragraphs:

U.S. EXPORTS ARE AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH, thanks to a weak dollar. But keeping exports growing will require more than a flabby currency. This is why Ambassador Susan Schwab, the U.S. trade representative, will be in Geneva this week to urge the world’s fastest-growing economies — China, Brazil, India, and Taiwan — to reduce their high tariffs in key sectors like machinery, electronics, medical devices, cars, chemicals and agricultural goods. A final agreement is far off — as long as seven to 10 years, according to trade experts.

As a crucial first step, Schwab will try to get the developing economies simply to agree to negotiate deals sector by sector in the years ahead. That could be a hard sell. Frank Vargo, vice president for international affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers, says that thus far, the developing countries have only showed an interest in lowering tariffs on chemicals.

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