Ministers ready for make-or-break trade talks

From banana imports to rules for protecting the product names, officials and diplomats were working on Friday on a range of issues ahead of next week's make-or-break ministerial trade negotiations, Reuters reported.

But trade experts said the significance of next week's Doha round talks goes far beyond the detail of tariff and subsidy cuts, signaling the international community's ability to deal with major problems such as the food crisis.

"If governments can't even agree on a trade negotiation I'd like to know what they're going to do in climate change over the next half a decade," World Trade Organisation Chief Economist Patrick Low told a briefing.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy called the Geneva meeting, which starts formally on Monday and is set to last a week, to push for a breakthrough in the long-running Doha round.

The talks have missed repeated deadlines since they were launched in late 2001 to open up world trade and help developing countries export their way out of poverty. But negotiators say there is a new sense of urgency, and even optimism, now.

Ministers from about 30 countries aim to clinch the outlines of a deal in the core areas of agriculture and industrial goods next week, to prevent the talks being sidelined by US elections and next year's change in the White House.

Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, arriving late on Thursday for talks ahead of the meeting, said any deal had to address the challenges of three "F's" - finance, food and fuel.

"These three "F's" are the backdrop against which these negotiations are being held," he told reporters.

World leaders from US President George W. Bush to Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have called for a deal.

A deal will see rich countries like the United States, Japan and EU members open up their markets for food by cutting farm tariffs and subsidies. In return tariff cuts in big emerging countries like India and Brazil will give them more access to markets for industrial goods and services.

Once ministers agree the terms of that framework, negotiators will apply the details in the coming months to thousands of tariff lines, and turn to other areas, from fisheries subsidies to rules for unfairly priced imports.

The question now is whether ministers can overcome the differences that divide developed and developing countries.

France, the European Union's biggest food producer and current holder of its presidency, said the EU had exhausted its scope for concessions in agriculture.

"We have a shared objective, to achieve a rebalancing of the concessions the EU has already made," French Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Idrac told a news conference in Brussels.

EU trade chief Peter Mandelson said he felt EU governments had strengthened his hand in pressing for more concessions from others in the WTO talks.

In the WTO's consensus-driven system each of the 152 members - rising to 153 next week when Cape Verde joins - has a veto.

Poor countries, pointing to the Doha round's development mandate, say they should have to open their markets less than rich countries. Instead they are being asked to expose subsistence farmers and infant industries to competition while rich countries continue to protect their farmers.

Rich countries say they cannot sell a deal at home involving big sacrifices in farm protection unless they can point to real gains in market access in countries such as India and China.

And they say some of the biggest gains would come in South- South trade - developing countries trading with each other.

The conventional wisdom, repeated this week in a WTO report on globalization, is that free trade increases prosperity. It creates both winners and losers, but nations as a whole benefit.

Many non-governmental organizations challenge that view, arguing that the current Doha proposals will expose poor-country farmers and workers to more poverty, and lock developing countries into dependence on the rich.

"It flies in the face of what is being proposed by communities and social movements and takes away the space needed for developing countries to put in place the measures to deal with the crisis," Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute, a US-based thinktank, told a briefing.

But Lamy, an austere Frenchman and former EU trade chief, argues forcefully for the potential of a Doha deal to reduce distortions in the world trading system to benefit poor countries. In the long term that would boost food supplies, and in the short term it would boost confidence, he says.

"What we can do is give one of the rare signals that there's a bit of good news in the system. I don't see any other front where this is available," he said.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Weekly tenders in the region (April 16-20)
Weekly tenders in the region (April 16-20)
Last week’s laws, orders and decrees in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Last week’s laws, orders and decrees in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Loading Bars
Latest
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry shares publication in connection with anniversary of Armenia's rocket attacks on Ganja
Information about firing of Azerbaijani army in direction of Arazdeyen does not reflect truth - Ministry of Defense
Sudan protest calls for military coup as political crisis deepens
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev addresses the nation on October 17, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 17, 2020
District Election Commissions to sum up protocols of municipal polls in Georgia
A working meeting of the delegations of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan takes place
Russian authorities say 18 dead in suspected alcohol poisoning in Yekaterinburg
UN chief welcomes unilateral cease-fire in CAR
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to rise
Work on increasing wages, pensions and benefits begins - Ministry of Finance of Azerbaijan
Official talks reasons for increase in gas prices in Azerbaijan
Post-conflict reconstruction projects launched by President Ilham Aliyev is unprecedented - Aide to President (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani IDEA signs agreement with All-Russian Society for Nature Conservation (PHOTO)
Saudi Arabia's PIF launches offshore platform tourism project
NATO Special Representative for Caucasus to visit Azerbaijan
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on October 17
Iran reaches grow in exports to Kyrgyzstan
World gas prices grow by 20-30 times compared to last year - SOCAR
Latvia to gift Georgia 83,070 doses of Pfizer jab
Earthquake hits southern Iran
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,681 more COVID-19 cases, 675 recoveries
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signs decree on raising social payments
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 16
Uzbekistan to privatize public park in Tashkent
Muslims all together sympathetic with Azerbaijan - Palestinian ambassador
Iran's exports to Kazakhstan up
SOCAR Georgia Gas opens tender on pickup trucks through operating lease
Turkish president and German chancellor holding talks in Istanbul
Novak does not rule out recurrence of energy crisis in Europe, urges its prevention
Azerbaijani official talks victims of Armenian attacks on Tartar during Second Karabakh War
Centuries needed to revive nature of Azerbaijan's Karabakh - minister
Azerbaijan raises electricity and gas prices
Restoration work in Azerbaijan’s liberated territories show positive trend – Kyrgyz ambassador
Over past 25-30 years, no country independently conducted such large-scale reconstruction in post-conflict period - aide to Azerbaijani president
Armenia must take serious and positive steps to open communications - Azerbaijani president's assistant (Exclusive)
Azerbaijan looks to sign document on demining liberated territories with France
Azerbaijan's Air Defense Units carrying out combat firing exercises (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's Karabakh to be famous for its "smart cities" and agricultural products - Turkish ambassador
Iran boosts exports to Russia
Russia registers over 1,000 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours first since pandemic starts
Kazakh energy minister names reasons for shutdown of Pavlodar refinery
Iran sees increase in trade turnover with EAEU member states
Representatives of diplomatic corps view restoration work in liberated territories of Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
First plane with UN humanitarian aid for Afghanistan arrives in Uzbekistan
Iran records increase in load/unload operations in Amirabad port
Georgia and US to discuss co-op in Black Sea
Fuzuli Airport Granted International Status and Assigned IATA Code
Uzbekistan to fund startups in various sectors
U.S. lawmaker blames Boeing leaders for culture that led to crashes
Turkmenistan to purchase agricultural machinery from foreign manufacturers
Iran Energy Exchange shares data on sales of Iran’s Jam Petrochemical Company
Azerbaijan names gymnasts to perform at World Championships in Japan
During former occupation of Sugovushan, Armenia deprived vast lands of water - aide to Azerbaijani president (PHOTO)
Volume of loaded and unloaded cargo in Iran’s Noshahr Port down
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 16
Kazakhstan boosts trade with Turkmenistan over 8M2021
Exports of steel manufacturers in Iran increase
Georgia, EU, and Turkey enter into "diagonal cumulation" agreement
Azerbaijani sees increase in oil prices
Iran raises ceiling on housing loans
Uzbekistan’s FEZ creates good basis for deepening co-op with Azerbaijan
Turkmenistan’s private enterprise eyes building dry cargo vessel
Trade turnover between Russia, US may hit record this year, says Deputy PM Overchuk
Iran to launch several shipping lines to Russia, Kazakhstan
Iran looks to improve transportation of goods from Khuzestan Province
Russia’s Korona Pay eyes expanding money transfers via Azerbaijan's mobile banking apps
Gas prices in Europe to remain high over next 6 months
Iranian currency rates for October 16
Turkmenistan's electric potential rises after commissioning new capacious power plants
Iran to increase fuel production
UK MP killing was terrorist incident, Met Police say
Representatives of diplomatic corps in Azerbaijan begin visit to Sugovushan
Czech Republic eyes to support improvement of Georgian air transport infrastructure
1,900 more COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
Biden says those who refuse to testify in Jan 6 probe should be prosecuted
ISIS claims responsibility for mosque attack in Afghan city of Kandahar
Fully vaccinated foreign visitors can enter U.S. starting on Nov. 8
China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship docks with space station module
UK records more than 40,000 COVID cases for third day in a row
Biden says Clinton will be released ‘shortly’ from California hospital
Amazon-owned Twitch says source code exposed in last week's data breach
Israel's annual inflation up 2.5 pct, highest in nearly decade
Africa's COVID-19 cases surpass 8.41 mln: Africa CDC
US shares specific data on cybercrime with Russia, awaits its actions, White House says
Saudi Arabia appoints Al-Rabiah as new Hajj minister
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev interviewed by Turkish A Haber TV channel on October 16, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 16, 2020
Czech PM Babis pledges smooth power handover to opposition
UK MP dies after being stabbed at constituency meeting
China’s Shenzhou-13 manned spacecraft successfully reach orbit
Four migrants dead, 21 missing off Spanish coast
FIA approves schedule for Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2022
COVID-19 kills 197 more Iranians over past 24 hours
Georgian FM meets Slovenian counterpart
Armenia trying to prepare ground for new provocations against Azerbaijan by spreading fake information - MoD
Azerbaijani FM discusses mine threat in liberated territories with French CNEMA delegates (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan lifts flight restrictions for number of countries
Azerbaijani President signs law "On Independence Day"
All news