Global trade revival key to economic recovery: WTO chief

Global trade revival key to economic recovery: WTO chief

New Delhi: A swift conclusion to a new world trade pact could serve as a powerful stimulus for recovery from the global financial crisis, World Trade Organisation (WTO) chief Pascal Lamy said in an interview published on Tuesday.

“Waiting for the crisis to disappear to conclude the Doha Round would mean depriving the world economy of a powerful engine for recovery," Pascal Lamy, head of the WTO, told Business Standard newspaper.

The Doha Round of trade liberalisation talks were launched in the Qatari capital in late 2001 but have been repeatedly stalled by disputes between rich and developing nations on agricultural and industrial products.

“Reviving international trade can act as a stimulus for global recovery," Lamy said, adding that the governments must fight rising protectionism that has come about as a result of the global crisis.

The WTO director general said that he would use global trade talks to be held in New Delhi on 3-4 September as a platform to make the case that concluding this round by the end of next year will be in the interest of all.

The meeting in India is being held as a precursor for a G20 summit of rich and developing nations to be held in Pittsburgh in the US on 24-25 September.

Last month, the leaders agreed to wrap up the Doha talks by 2010.

Lamy added that he detected a new will among countries to achieve a Doha deal after talks collapsed a year ago.

“Crucially, the political support is far greater now than it has been in the past 12 months," he said in the email interview, adding progress has been made in such areas as anti-dumping, fisheries and subsidies.

Lamy also said that the newly elected governments in India and the US could revitalise the talks, even though the two countries have not changed their positions.

“Since the US and Indian elections, there seems to be a different atmosphere surrounding the talks, a willingness on both sides to look at different ways of tackling the outstanding differences," he said.

Negotiators almost clinched a deal last year but the talks fell apart in a row between the US and emerging nations led by India over efforts to assist poor farmers.