SWITZERLAND: Global Trade talks back on track
Global trade talks are back on track after ministers from 24 major economies - including the US, EU, China, India and Brazil - on Saturday (29 January) gave the green light to a new roadmap to try and hammer a final deal by the end of 2011.
An accord would sweep away barriers and slash tariffs on more than $16 trillion worth of trade each year in goods and services, including hundreds of billions of commercial flows in textiles, apparel and footwear.
"A deal is within reach providing a serious acceleration in the talks takes place," WTO chief Pascal Lamy said in Davos, Switzerland.
The trade talks, launched in 2001 in Doha, Qatar, were derailed in July 2008 because of differences between the US the EU and other rich trading powers, and major emerging nations led by China, India, and Brazil.
The blueprint, crafted during a meeting on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum summit, envisages new draft texts by the end of April, brokering terms for market access by the end of July, and reaching a final agreement by the end of 2011.
"Everybody agrees that we are in the end game, that we should get a deal in July," EU Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, told reporters.
Similarly, India's minister for Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, said: "There is a consensus, without exception that we should try and conclude it this year."
However, ministers and senior trade diplomats admit, in private, that whether a deal falls in place, or not, will rest largely on how the dynamics between the US and China play out.
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