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Some progress in WTO round

Some progress in WTO round

Trade Minister Phil Goff welcomed the release of new negotiating texts for agriculture and industrial market access in Geneva overnight.

“The agricultural text, drafted by New Zealand’s ambassador to the WTO and chair of the agriculture negotiating group, Crawford Falconer, marks some real progress in this area,” Mr Goff said.

“We now have a consensus text on subsidies on most issues and considerable work has been done to narrow gaps between different countries’ positions on market access. The most important issues still outstanding relate to market access in relation to developing countries.

“In regards to non-agriculture market access (Nama), there has been some progress in relation to small developing countries. But overall there has been little convergence on core issues setting the framework for market access into the developed and advanced developing countries,” Mr Goff said.

“The documents on draft modalities are complex and highly technical. They require further analysis before we make more detailed comment on them. It is certainly too soon to say whether they have made sufficient progress to allow the WTO negotiations to be concluded this year.

“However, a serious effort is underway to finalise a Doha deal, with political commitment from the big players. But political will has to be translated into readiness to reach agreement on substance,” Phil Goff said.

“It is generally agreed that agriculture and Nama have to lead the way, with later progress on services and other areas like rules balancing the package.

“Negotiators will be going back to Geneva next week. In agriculture, an effort will be made to sort out the remaining key outstanding issues over the next few weeks.

“In Nama, resolutions over the critical issues, such as level of ambition may not be able to be made until a Green Room process for senior officials and then ministers gets underway, which would need to occur by March or April if there is to be any chance of completing the Doha round this year,” Mr Goff said.


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