Global anti-poverty goals threatened by breakdown of WTO talks – UN agency

1 August 2008

The head of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said today that it was “deeply disappointing” that world trade talks in Geneva had ended without agreement and called for the revival of the negotiations.

“The failure of the talks this week is undoubtedly a setback to the multilateral trading system,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi said.

“It adds to a growing list of global development challenges that must be confronted by countries in order to create the necessary and conducive conditions to promote development, eliminate poverty and accelerate the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”

Mr. Panitchpakdi stressed that the so-called “Doha Round” of talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO) was too important to be derailed and said that UNCTAD was committed to supporting a revival of the negotiations.

“Every effort must be deployed by WTO members to re-commit themselves to the multilateral trading system, to return to the negotiating table at the earliest possible juncture, and deliver the development promise of the Round,” he said.

“The Round provides a unique vehicle for re-balancing the multilateral trading system, in particular for addressing the long-standing systemic distortions, especially in regard to agricultural subsidies by developed countries,” he added, stressing that an important goal was to secure increased, predictable and effective market access for developing countries for exports in agriculture, manufacturing and other services.

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