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NFTC Issues Statement on Doha Round
Date: 7/28/2008
Written By: Jennifer Cummings or Eric Thomas, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Washington, DC National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) Senior Vice President Catherine Bennett, who just returned from Geneva following a U.S. business community delegation visit last week, today issued the following statement:

"It would be premature to comment definitively on the Lamy text. For one thing the negotiations are not over. In addition, we have not had the chance to talk with our member companies or the opportunity to fully analyze the proposed formulas. The devil is in the details and we are concerned about the extent to which 'flexibilities' diminish the commercial benefits of any trade liberalizations. Many of our member companies also have a strong interest in sectoral trade negotiations. As you know, the Lamy text sites the possibility of two sectorals. If key countries like China, India and Brazil choose not to participate, then even this benefit is illusory.

"We were heartened by the apparent results of the services signaling conference held yesterday. A number of countries, including the United States, made some positive, forthcoming comments. The outcome on services will be critical to how companies judge the overall balance of concessions in the negotiations. Finally, many of our companies have opposed the inclusion of the expansion of GIs and provisions relating to the Convention on Biodiversity in the single Doha undertaking. It is our understanding that a decision on the TRIPS issues has not yet been made.

"The NFTC has long supported an ambitious and balanced outcome of the Doha Round. That means significant liberalization in all three pillars of the Round - agriculture, NAMA and services. We do not believe WTO trade negotiators are there yet, but remain hopeful for positive developments in the next few days."