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Trade Network Delighted By WTO Outcome

Trade Network Delighted – And Relieved – By WTO Outcome

“A great result – and a great relief”.

This was the reaction of Trade Liberalisation Network Executive Director Stephen Jacobi to the decision of the World Trade Organisation to launch a new round of trade negotiations in Doha, Qatar.

“This is a great result for business and for the WTO but above all for people around the world who can look forward to new opportunities arising from today’s decision”. Mr Jacobi has been in Doha acting as business adviser to the New Zealand delegation.

Mr Jacobi said the negotiation of the “Doha development agenda” in Doha had been a delicate and knife-edge exercise. “Delegates knew that the launch was ours to lose. The WTO operates by consensus so all countries had to agree with the final outcome. This is not a club for the rich. Over a hundred developing countries had to have their needs met. Things went right to the wire and the decision to launch came as a great relief”.

New Zealand business could be satisfied that the new round would include negotiations, over the next three years, to reduce import duties and other barriers in manufacturing, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and services, to phase out export subsidies for agriculture, to reform subsidies for fishing, and to improve anti-dumping and other trade rules. WTO members have also agreed to undertake further analysis of investment and competition policy as a first step towards negotiations in these areas in two years time.

Mr Jacobi said that the WTO had agreed to address environmental and developing country issues, including access to medicines. “The outcome in these areas shows that the WTO can be responsive to public opinion while doing all it can to resist new or disguised trade barriers”.

New Zealand negotiators had played a key role in Doha helping to broker deals in several key areas. “The New Zealand team under Jim Sutton deserve to be congratulated for their excellent work”, concluded Mr Jacobi.

Ends

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