September 9, 2008


Trade officials to restart WTO Doha negotiations next week


Senior officials from the key trading nations are to reunite next week in Geneva to restart the stalled WTO Doha negotiations and push for a breakthrough this autumn.


DG Agriculture's top official, Jean-Luc Demarty, is expected to arrive in Geneva on Tuesday. The Director General will join fellow senior officials from other key nations to discuss technical solutions to unresolved questions from July's Geneva ministerial.


Chief among these will be the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM), the issue which ultimately derailed talks in July.


Many positive statements of intent have been made over recent weeks, with US, Brazil and the EU supporting a return to negotiations.


WTO Director General Pascal Lamy has visited India and the US - the key protagonists in the previous meeting, warning that time is running out.


Crawford Falconer, the chair of farm trade negotiations, said negotiators were all ready for negotiations after the first meeting of the full WTO membership to take place since the summer break.


SSM is a new safeguard tool proposed for developing countries, allowing authorities to impose higher taxes on imports when there is a surge.


The previous meeting drew a stalemate as member nations failed to agree on whether the higher taxes could rise over pre-Doha bound levels, and the degree of which would trigger its usage.

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