Jul 07, 2008
Trade deal hinges on 'all blocs' feeling that they had gained some new market accessBack
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Last week, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy described July as "the moment of truth" for a long-sought global trade pact, with Reuters quoting him as warning that a failure would erode economic growth, sour diplomatic ties and hurt poor countries.
"The coming weeks represent the moment of truth for the Doha round," Lamy, a former EU trade commissioner, said in a memorandum to Ministers, published in the International Herald Tribune.
"A deal in agriculture and industrial goods would generate an unstoppable momentum and bring quick resolution to the round ... Agreement is within our reach but all of us will have to stretch a bit to get there," he added.
Earlier, South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) deputy director-general for international trade and economic development Xavier Carim told Engineering News that "we have a window of opportunity now and it needs to be taken – if we don’t take it, we won’t see any significant progress for the rest of the year".
“If we get the frameworks in place, and get the big numbers agreed by June or July, then a lot of the other work will just fall into place," Carim asserted.
It was now common cause, therefore, that the two key issues in Geneva would be progress on agriculture reform, as well as access to industrial markets – developing countries had fought hard to keep the latter from overwhelming the agenda.
But Thomas conceded that any flexibility shown by the Nama 11 should be balanced by the developmental agenda. "But, there will need to be some flexibility from the Nama 11. As to how much flexibility would be up for discussion," he said.
For its part, South Africa had consistently warned that great vigilance was required to safeguard the country's policy flexibility, particularly in the area of industrial products, particularly given the growing pressure on developing countries to make ‘onerous’ concessions.
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