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WTO chief says members ‘within reach of a major step’ toward new trade deal

WTO chief says members ‘within reach of a major step’ toward new trade deal

WTO Director General Pascal Lamy
The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) today said he was convinced that the organization’s member states would be able to reach agreements on international trade, as this week’s meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee got under way this morning.

Referring to the Doha Round of negotiations on international trade which began in 2001, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy said that members are “within reach of a major step in our drive to conclude the Round this year” and added that he could think of “no stronger spur for our action than the threats 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,” Mr. Lamy stressed.

In his opening remarks to the Committee Mr. Lamy said that the aim of this week’s negotiations was to establish formal blueprint agreements for trade in agriculture as well as industrial products.

After Mr. Lamy’s address, 30 ministers from participating countries addressed the informal session of the Committee, with more delegations from the WTO’s 152 members expected to speak tomorrow.