“Meetings in Geneva this week have diminished substantially any hope for a workable package in time for the upcoming December meeting of trade ministers. It’s unfortunate, as there were a number of items under discussion that would have been a win-win for jobs, growth and development.
“We hope that the failure to agree on a December package will spur key stakeholders to return their focus to the larger package of issues in the Doha Round and come to terms with what can only be described as a long-term impasse. While tremendous potential remains to improve the global economy through an ambitious conclusion to the Round, it is clear that key countries are not prepared to show the kind of flexibility that would permit negotiators to wrap up such a package in the short term.
“As economic ministers prepare for the upcoming conference in December to address the future of the Doha Round and the World Trade Organization more generally, we also believe it is time to start also pursuing fresh thinking in Geneva. Member countries should encourage the WTO to re-energize the regular machinery of the organization to modernize rules and improve understanding about new critical issues that affect competitiveness and economic growth.
“Modernizing the rules governing cross-border data flows is already under discussion in forums such as the OECD and APEC and in bilateral and regional free trade agreements. The current discussion about improving trade rules to deliver environmentally-friendly technologies more effectively has been mired in political wrangling over other issues in the Doha Round. Empowering committees in Geneva to deal with these issues apart from Doha would be useful for the WTO and its member countries.
“The NFTC has been and continues to be a leading supporter of the WTO and of modernizing trade rules under the Doha Round. We do not want to see an absence of flexibility in the current negotiations and a lack of creative thinking about ways to move critical new trade issues forward drain credibility from the organization.”
Advancing Global Commerce for Nearly A Century– The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.
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