Doha Round’s failure will weaken WTO, says Lamy

New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) Terming 2011 the window of opportunity to conclude the Doha Round of trade talks, WTO director general Pascal Lamy said Friday their failure will weaken the multilateral trade organisation and may derail the global economic recovery.

‘If we have to conclude Doha Round by the end of 2011, we need a political consensus six months before that because there are a lot of technical works to be done,’ Lamy said at a special address organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

He said world leaders at the recent G20 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits have shown political resolve to conclude the Doha Development Round.

‘Leaders recognised the 2011 window of opportunity to achieve this goal. They provided a clear signal that they expect the Doha Round to be deliverable next year,’ Lamy said.

The Doha Round of trade negotiating of the WTO, launched in the Qatari capital in 2001, aims to boost global trade by reducing trade barriers. The negotiations are stalled since 2008.

‘If the Doha Development Round was to fail, it would be the first in the history of the GATT/WTO since 1948. It would weaken the only institution which governs the rules of world trade and has the ability to adjudicate in the event of disputes between countries,’ Lamy said.

He urged the world leaders for a coordinated effort to conclude the multilateral trade negotiations, saying it will help in creating employment and boosting economic growth.

‘The macro-economic imbalances do not originate in trade. Addressing them through trade restricting measures will not work. Worse, it will trigger tit-for-tat protectionism,’ Lamy said.

‘The question ahead of us is clear: how to supplement what negotiators have already put on the table, with new give and take in order to build a final package that each member would take to their respective parliaments,’ he added.

‘In recent months they have been testing flexibilities in various formats. This process must now intensify in order to ‘walk the talk’,’ Lamy said.

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