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Silver lining to WTO talks impasse

Media statement Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Silver lining to WTO talks impasse

The collapse of the World Trade Organisation's free trade talks is not likely to mean the end of this Doha round of talks if history is anything to go by, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

While the present impasse is sorted out, New Zealand's negotiation resources will become available for accelerating progress on our bilateral agreements, said Bruce Goldsworthy, EMA's Manager of Advocacy.

"The WTO achieved huge advances in freeing up world trade in previous rounds, and it remains the only place to resolve international trade disputes," Mr Goldsworthy said.

"It will remain the bulwark against nations back sliding towards insular and self defeating trade protectionism.

"But New Zealand has every reason to be disappointed by the stubborn protectionism of the EU and the US.

"Their refusal to cut trade distorting food production and other farm subsidies is the single largest cause of world poverty.

"The present impasse should not be read as the end of the world's multilateral free trade forum or the present negotiating round.

"The Uruguay round begun in 1986 faced a similar standoff in 1990 but reached completion in 1993.

"The impasse will likely encourage Japan to raise the profile of its proposals for developing an Asian free trade bloc, including New Zealand, and such a development may help speed the EU and the US to return to negotiations."


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