Time short for market-opening offers: WTO chief
PARIS: The director general of the World Trade Organisation, Supachai Panitchpakdi, warned WTO countries on Wednesday that time was running out for them to make firm offers to open up their markets under the Doha round of global trade talks under way.
And he suggested some delegations were dragging their feet, notably on the sensitive question of liberalising agricultural trade.
Mr Supachai urged ministers of the 30 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development meeting here to act swiftly to ensure that negotiations were successful.
“There is an increasingly urgent need to make sure that your instructions to your negotiators in Geneva in specific areas are consistent with your commitment to a successful outcome overall,” he said.
“This, I must say frankly, does not always appear to be the case — particularly in key areas such as agriculture.”
However, he added: “From all my contacts I have the impression that governments remain committed to finishing the Round by the agreed deadline of January 1, 2005.”
Mr Supachai said there were outstanding problems to be solved during the talks in Geneva before the next WTO ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in September.
The WTO has suffered two recent setbacks, one being an inability of its members to agree on the framework of talks on agriculture before a deadline of March 31, and another being disagreement on access to medicines in poor countries. —AFP