CPC Confident WTO Negotiations will Resume

by 5m Editor
31 July 2008, at 11:37am

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council is confident stalled negotiations aimed at achieving a new world trade agreement will ultimately resume, writes Bruce Cochrane.

On Tuesday, after nine days of meetings in Geneva, World Trade Organization director general Pascal Lamy suspended the latest round of WTO discussions after member nations failed to agree on blueprint agreements in agriculture and industrial products.

Canadian Pork Council executive director Martin Rice says negotiators have entered what he describes as a cooling down period.

Martin Rice-Canadian Pork Council

There's been, in our view, significant progress achieved between Hong Kong two years ago and these meetings this past week, far too much progress to let it be dropped, let it be put on the shelf for an extended period.

We've got some pretty important political events coming up including the U.S. elections this fall.

It would have been a real challenge to get an agreement through the U.S. congress in any case, even if an agreement had been reached.

I think we're looking at probably another two to three years and perhaps allowing for some less visibility on the negotiators.

Let them do their work without too many high visibility high tension meetings in Geneva or anywhere else.

I believe that the negotiations will come back to where things have left off and maybe there will be a little bit more sober second thought by some countries that took pretty strong stands against any compromise.

Rice is encouraged to see the Canadian government remains committed to achieving success on the multilateral front but the Canadian Pork Council also sees bilateral negotiations with individual countries as key.

However, he stresses, the limitation of bilateral agreements is you can't deal with issues as subsidies and rules related to countervale and dumping.

He says those issues can only be addressed through multilateral discussions.

5m Editor