Washington: World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy called on 13 June for the United States to show its commitment to global trade negotiations by renewing President George W. Bush’s special negotiating authority.
The WTO director general, who spoke by teleconference from Geneva, where the WTO is based, exhorted the meeting’s participants to promote the renewal by the US Congress of Bush’s so-called “fast-track” authority, which expires 30 June.
He said this was critical to the sputtering Doha round of talks.
“Many US trading partners will consider that no movement to renew trade-promotion authority would signal that the US might have lost faith in the round, and this would certainly have an impact on the dynamics of the negotiations,” Lamy told a conference in Washington on the Bretton Woods institutions.
“Let me urge all of you to help build this strong movement in the US,” he told the meeting, saying foreign players in the deadlocked Doha round were looking for “signals coming out of Washington.”
Lamy said an intermediary accord in the talks was within reach which would pave the way for a final accord within six to nine months.
A meeting next week of trade ministers from Brazil, the European Union, India and the United States in Potsdam, Germany, is due to make another attempt to unlock the floundering five-year-old WTO talks.
The four countries represent a range of poor and rich country interests at the WTO. An agreement among them on the concessions needed to reduce barriers to trade in agriculture, industrial goods and services is regarded as essential to draw in the rest of the 150 members.
The 150 WTO members are hoping to conclude a deal by the end of the year.