WTO Not Optimistic On Trade Talks

GENEVA (AP) -- The World Trade Organization warned Tuesday that talks to open up the global economy were unlikely to produce a breakthrough accord by next year unless countries made significant compromises.

The assessment does not bode well for the latest deadline to conclude the WTO's struggling Doha round of global commerce talks. Leaders of the Group of 20 rich and emerging economies have pledged to wrap up a deal by the end of the 2010, but the talks have missed a number of previous targets.

WTO chief Pascal Lamy said they need "serious acceleration."

"We need to see real negotiations emerge," Lamy told a meeting of the WTO's 153 members.

Lamy said it was still possible to achieve success in 2010, but countries had to live up to their promises to fight protectionism and remove restrictions to trade in agriculture, manufacturing and services.

The Doha round aims to boost the world economy by letting emerging countries such as Brazil, China and India sell more products to the rich world. In return, developed nations in North America, Europe and elsewhere would get new chances for their manufacturers and service providers to enter growing markets in Asia and Latin America.

The WTO's members will meet in Geneva in late November to hold their first full ministerial conference since gathering in Cancun, Mexico, in 2003 and Hong Kong two years later. Those meetings were more noteworthy for their protests than for negotiating successes.

Lamy said members should focus on the "big picture" at the ministerial.

Officials want the conference to avoid delicate questions of tariffs, subsidies and other barriers so that the long-term stability and growth of international trade can be debated.

More in Supply Chain