Washington: The World Bank president, Robert Zoellick,has called for a quick conclusion of the Doha round of world trade talks—aimed at increasing trade in food to finance that could in turn boost growth in economies plagued by financial crises.
Terming this as a “now or never” situation to end the Doha round, started in 2001, the former Bush administration official maintained that the poor in the world need lower food prices but agricultural trading system was stuck in the past.
In addition, the Doha round will have an important bearing on how countries go about yet another critical issue—climate change, he said, arguing that the ongoing trade talks are not to be seen as some kind of a poker contest.
In a major policy speech ahead of the spring meetings of the bank and the International Monetary Fund next week, Zoellick outlined the major challenges facing the comity of nations against the backdrop of globalization, one of which being the imperative of bringing the Doha round to a successful closure.
The talks have failed to progress over who among the developed and developing countries should make greater concessions such as lowering tariffs and subsidies and opening up economies.
“A fairer and more open global trading system for agriculture will give more opportunities and confidence to African and other developing country farmers to expand production,” Zoellick said.
“The bank can assist developing countries seize the possibilities by expanding the capacity to trade, overcoming barriers to get tomarkets, and helping with trade finance.”
“Taxpayers and governments can save the costs of subsidies, improving budgets,” Zoellick said.