Trade talks “dead” unless US mandate renewed: WTO chief

BERLIN - World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lamy warned in an interview released on Saturday that global talks on removing trade barriers are doomed if the US Congress does not renew the US negotiating mandate beyond mid-2007.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sat 29 Jul 2006, 10:18 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:12 PM

“If (this) mandate is not extended the negotiations are dead. It would be the end of the Doha Round,” Lamy said in an interview with the German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

However he said there were “indications” that the US administration’s mandate would be renewed, “which was not the case before negotiations were suspended”.

On Monday Lamy suspended five years of Doha Round negotiations because of a failure by six major trading powers to compromise on tariffs and subsidies, but has asked WTO members not to withdraw their offers.

He said in the interview he did not expect a trade accord to be signed by the end of this year.

The troubled effort to bring down agricultural and industrial barriers was dubbed the Doha Development Agenda when it was launched in the Qatari capital, Doha, in 2001.

The United States and the European Union have traded accusations of inflexibility on the key stumbling block of farm subsidies.

The US Congress has currently mandated the administration of President George W. Bush to negotiate until July 2007, but has said a trade liberalisation accord must be sent to it for approval 90 days before the mandate expires.

On Monday US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said the WTO now looks set to miss the crucial deadline, greatly complicating efforts to get any agreement through Congress.

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