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Weekend WTO Ministerial Meeting Failure Expected to Make A New World Trade Agreement Difficult to Achieve

by 5m Editor
5 July 2006, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2184. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Farm-Scape, Episode 2184

The Canadian Pork Council warns the weekend collapse of trade talks in Geneva will make it difficult for members of the WTO to reach a new world trade agreement before the current US trade negotiating authority expires.

The 149 member nations of the World Trade Organization are attempting to hammer out the modalities, or basic structure, of a new world trade agreement.

On Saturday a formal meeting of the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee, which capped three days of discussions involving a representative group of trade ministers, failed to result in progress in efforts aimed at narrowing the gaps on formulas for reducing tariffs and subsidies.

Canadian Pork Council Executive Director Martin Rice, on hand as part of a pork industry delegation sent to monitor the discussions, suggests, with the US trade negotiating authority due to expire in about a year, the schedule is getting extremely tight and he expects behind the scenes discussions leading toward a scheduled ministerial meeting at the end of the month to be critical.

The deadline is still generally viewed as the end of July to reach an agreement on modalities and that will be quite challenging to meet.

There's still pretty widespread agreement that there has to be negotiations over the next two weeks that will bring this modalities question to a conclusion by the end of July.

There is a ministerial meeting scheduled for the end of July and the view is that, beyond that, there's just not enough time to bring this WTO package that might become passed by different countries legislatures.

Although WTO member nations have indicated they remain committed to completing the negotiations by the end of the year, Rice warns, unless there is a modalities agreement soon, there may not be sufficient time to ratify it in time to meet that deadline.

Staff Farmscape.Ca

5m Editor