Sydney: Asia-Pacific leaders will issue a formal appeal to trading nations to urgently conclude faltering global trade talks to avert a “disaster” for the world economy, a senior Japanese official said today.
World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lamy secured broad support for the call from trade and foreign ministers of the US, Japan, China, and 17 other nations attending a regional summit in Sydney, the official said.
“A statement is expected to be adopted for this particular issue at the end of this APEC meeting,” Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Mitsuo Sakaba told reporters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum meeting here.
It will be a “separate document on the WTO” that would “send a clear message to the international community that APEC is quite ready to resume (talks) for the successful conclusion of the Doha round of negotiations,” he said.
Ministers of the 20 nations plus Hong Kong that make up APEC and together account for nearly 50% of world trade and 56% of global economic output began meetings here on 5 September, ahead of an APEC summit at the weekend.
WTO envoys are meeting in Geneva over the next three weeks in a bid to break the long-standing deadlock in the negotiations on cutting tariffs and subsidies, which were launched back in 2001 in the Qatari capital, Doha.
Trading nations have spent the past month mulling over compromise proposals on farm subsidies and import tariffs, a key stumbling block in WTO talks which also encompass global trade in industrial goods and services.
Sakaba said “a large number” of APEC ministers including those of Japan supported the compromise drafts as the “basis for negotiations.”