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Lamy talks highlight need for Doha urgency

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Trade

26 January 2006

Lamy talks highlight need for Doha urgency

Talks with World Trade Organisation Director General Pascal Lamy have underlined that only a narrow window of opportunity remains in which to finalise the current round of negotiations, says Trade Minister Phil Goff.

Mr Goff met with Mr Lamy in Geneva overnight (NZT) ahead of a meeting of trade ministers in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday and Saturday.

“The heart of the deal has to be removing barriers to market access in agriculture and in industrial products," Mr Goff said.

“In Hong Kong in December we agreed to settle the main parameters for agriculture and non-agricultural market access by the end of April. We are talking here about complex texts. They will require an immense amount of technical work in the Geneva negotiating groups.

“Getting this done by 30 April will be tight, but the technical work can be done if there is the political will and direction from ministers for the work to be completed.

“Market access and subsidy issues are highly political. Negotiators in Geneva will not make the breakthroughs we need until they get a steer from ministers on the critical issues."

Mr Goff goes on from Geneva to Davos for a meeting with other trade ministers.

“Those of us meeting in Davos know that the stakes are high. A successful outcome to the Doha Development Round will strengthen the system of multilateral trade rules, which is fundamental for smaller countries such as New Zealand. And it will provide a real stimulus to trade.

“Above all, completing the Round is essential if we are to give developing countries the new opportunities they were promised under the Doha mandate. Delivering on development and poverty alleviation objectives depends heavily on trade reform,” Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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