Doha, the Preconditions for Success

By March 26, 2009Economy, Trade

From Reuters, “Business Groups tell Lamy need more for Doha“:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leading U.S. business groups told World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy on Tuesday they can not support current proposals for finishing seven years of talks on a global trade deal.

“We stressed repeatedly that our three organizations want this to work. We’re not throwing up roadblocks,” said Frank Vargo, vice president for international economic affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers.

“But what we want is for it to produce results (by increasing trade). We’re the organizations that are going to have to get this through Congress,” Vargo told reporters.

Lamy met with leaders from the manufacturers groups, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Coalition of Service Industries near the end of two days of meetings with members of Congress and Obama administration officials.

NAM President John Engler, Bob Stallman of the AFBF and Bob Vastine of the services group sent a joint leter to President Obama last month providing more detail on the steps and substance necessary to revive the Doha negotiations and anticipating next month’s meeting of the G-20. Key excerpt:

[In] order to realize some tangible benefits from the efforts to date, we recommend that your Administration consider alternative paths forward, including whether some parts of the Round should be considered for a separate agreement in the near-term, rather than waiting for an overall conclusion. In particular, the ongoing trade facilitation negotiations enjoy broad support by developed and developing countries – including the least developed countries. A trade facilitation and capacity building deal in the near-term could bring much needed benefits to all nations if rapidly implemented on a separate track. Industrial non-tariff barrier negotiations have also languished and need renewed emphasis.

Trade has been a crucial component of U.S. and global economic growth, and will be central to the recovery of both. U.S. leadership is essential to bringing the Round to a successful conclusion, and the United States must continue to press for the ambitious outcome that would create new trade flows that will stimulate growth. Similarly, at the April G-20 meeting in London the United States must take a strong position against the global slide toward protectionism.

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