Report from Geneva, V

By July 26, 2008Policy Experts, Trade

A quiet day in Geneva, at least on the surface. The major event today was the long-anticipated “signaling conference” on services, in which countries indicated what they were prepared to do in liberalizing services. The Coalition of Services Industries indicated it was very pleased, and hoped that substantial new offers would be made as a result.

On NAMA, this has been a day of very intensive bilateral negotiations. The U.S. has been working in close tandem with the EU, and both have been pressing for China, Brazil, and India to step up to the plate. There seems, for the time being at least, to be some distance opening up between Brazil and India – in which Brazil is making some reasonable statements, indicating willingness to move ahead, and not being shrill in its tone. India, on the other hand, continues to be extremely difficult and critical.

Not too much to report. NAM was asked to speak for manufacturers at a meeting of Congressional staff who are here in Geneva, along with the Farm Bureau for agricultural interests. There is a lot of congressional concern for what this deal might do to affect import-sensitive industries and a lot of questions as to how there can be enough gain for export-oriented industries.

Also met again with U.S. negotiators, and continue to admire the job they are doing. It is not easy to be in bilateral meetings all day, be in green room and other WTO meetings, plan the next day, examine strategies, report back to Washington, etc.

Tomorrow will bring more bilateral meetings, and probably a meeting of the Green Room in which about 30 countries will give their reactions to the Lamy text developed yesterday. Most of them apparently will say in general it is OK, but they have problems in that the U.S. and Europe aren’t doing enough in agriculture. Many of them also oppose the anti-concentration language in the text for NAMA and the provision for sectorals.

Could be an interesting day tomorrow.

NAM’s Man in Geneva
Frank Vargo

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