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Doha Trade Talks Face Crisis


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade


Date 2 July 2006
Media statement

Doha Trade Talks Face Crisis

Trade Minister, Phil Goff says that the Doha Round trade talks are at risk of failure with major players unable to reach agreement on key issues.

Mr Goff was speaking from Geneva where he has spent this weekend as one of 32 trade ministers invited to participate in ‘Green Room’ talks.

“The Director-General of the WTO, Pascal Lamy, has declared that the talks face a crisis, with the Unites States, European Union and the big developing countries unable to agree on key issues, Mr Goff said.

“Unless the key parties can find a way around the stalemate, the time left to complete the round before the expiry of the Trade Promotion Authority will run out.

“Disagreements exist around the appropriate level of tariff cuts to allow market access for agricultural and non-agricultural goods, and the level of cuts proposed for domestic subsidies on agriculture in the U.S.

“While a crisis exists the talks have not collapsed and all sides have expressed a strong commitment to concluding the talks.

“No one is prepared to contemplate the consequences of failure of the round. It would hugely damage the multilateral trade system. It would deny the development opportunities which the Round promises the third world and prevent the growth in employment and living standards overall which trade liberalisation promotes.

“The decision has been made, and endorsed by the Trade Negotiations Committee representing 149 countries to give the Director-General responsibility for brokering a solution.

“Pascal Lamy will begin a process of intensive consultations with the G6 countries (US, EU, Brazil, India, Japan and Australia) and others to find an agreement.

“New Zealand has and will continue to play a constructive and pivotal role in helping find a solution, particularly on agriculture where we chair the Agriculture Negotiating Committee.

“Along with others, we have a big stake in a successful outcome from the talks. While we want an ambitious outcome in cutting subsidies and trade constraints, we recognise that flexibility as well as political will is essential in achieving an outcome from the Round,” Phil Goff said.

ENDS

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