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Cancelled WTO meeting disappoints Minister

Cancelled WTO Ministerial meeting disappoints Minister

Trade Minister Tim Groser has expressed disappointment at the cancellation of a WTO Ministerial Meeting which had been scheduled to begin later this week, in a bid to progress the stalled WTO Doha Round.

“G20 Leaders in Washington in November made it clear they wanted action from Trade Ministers to try to get a deal agreed on agriculture and industrial products before the end of the year.

“This call was reiterated strongly by APEC Leaders, including Prime Minister John Key, in Peru in late November.

“It was very disappointing, therefore, that the WTO Director General Pascal Lamy felt that he had not received sufficient assurances of flexibility from key WTO members to allow him to go ahead with the meeting.”

Mr Groser says the focus now has to be on intensive efforts to get the negotiations back on track in the New Year so that the Doha Round could be concluded as soon as possible.

“It has been clear since July that the fundamental barrier we face to concluding the Doha Round is political. It is critical that the key players demonstrate the political will and leadership necessary to get a deal done.

“The global financial and economic crisis makes it imperative that we do so quickly. We are already seeing concerning signs of growing protectionist sentiments in a number of key countries, which is very concerning.

“The reality is that a more open and transparent trade environment will be critical for getting us through the current crisis.

“This is especially so for developing countries, which still face steep barriers in selling their products into many developed markets. The WTO Doha Round is a key factor in addressing this.”

Mr Groser met with WTO Director General Pascal Lamy in Geneva during the weekend and senior envoys from key WTO member states.

In his meeting with Pascal Lamy, he reiterated New Zealand’s strong support for a conclusion to the WTO Round, and his commitment to working closely with him and other WTO members towards achieving this objective as soon as possible next year.


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