Geneva: World Trade Organization (WTO) chief Pascal Lamy warned on Monday that time was running out for the conclusion of a global trade liberalization pact, saying that concrete action was vital to seal the Doha deal.
“Time is running out, and it is not credible at this stage to see issues in isolation from the work and the achievements of the past eight years,” he said in opening remarks to ministers from 153 countries attending a key WTO meeting in Geneva.
Launched in 2001, the Doha Round of talks have foundered amid disagreements between developed and developing countries over the level of cuts to agriculture subsidies and industrial products tariffs.
World leaders have pledged on several occasions this year to conclude the negotiations by 2010, but progress has been slow. Lamy had warned that next year’s deadline would be missed if talks were not accelerated. “The moment of truth is fast approaching when you will have to decide whether the 2010 target can be met. Political leaders are practically unanimous that they want to meet it, but reaffirmation is not enough,” he said.
Reflecting the Doha stalemate, the WTO member-states did not want negotiations officially on the agenda at the meeting, the first of WTO’s top decision-making body in four years.