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Getting the WTO Negotiations Back on Track (November 25, 2003)

SUMMARY

GOVERNMENTS should prepare to re-launch the Doha Round negotiations in 2005 at the World Trade Organization’s ministerial conference in Hong Kong and aim to complete them early in 2007, Clayton Yeutter urged at a roundtable meeting of the Cordell Hull Institute in Washington on November 25, 2003.

Ambassador Yeutter said that the Doha Round negotiations cannot be completed in a U.S. election year if the results are to be meaningful. The WTO General Council must acknowledge that reality now and plan accordingly. Otherwise, he added, the negotiations will be in even more trouble when U.S. “fast track” negotiating authority is up for extension early in 2005. The Hong Kong ministerial should therefore be held in July 2005 or thereabouts – after the authority has been extended.

The former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and onetime U.S. Trade Representatives, who played a major role in the Uruguay Round negotiations, reviewed the options in the stalled WTO negotiations at the Institute’s meeting, which concluded a series on the Cancún debacle. Click here for the papers discussed at the meeting. The papers are covered in a short report (HTML) here in the Policy Forum section.

Mark Vaile, Australia’s Minister for Trade, who is chairman of the Cairns Group of agricultural-exporting countries, also spoke at the meeting.

Other papers were given by Rubens Barbosa, the Brazilian Ambassador to the United States; Harald Malmgren, former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative; Edward Menzies, President of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, Ottawa, and Andrew Stoeckel, Executive Director of the Centre for International Economics, Canberra.