WTO chief draws focus on trade

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New Delhi, Oct 28 (UNI) Even as the World Trade Organisation is grappling with negotiations on reduction in industrial and agriculture trade tariff, the global trade body chief Pascal Lamy has sought to focus on the trade and environment debate, saying that Doha Round is the first to have a "green chapter," which includes negotiations on reduction of fisheries subsidies.

He said Doha ' Round's green chapter includes the issue of reduction of fisheries subsidies that have contributed to the perilous state of much of the world's fish stock. An annual 14-20 billion dollars of fisheries subsidies worldwide has been one of the causes of fish stock depletion, he added. "Worldwide, the global fishing fleet pulls 80 million tonnes of fish or more from the oceans. This is four times higher of the 1950 total. The negotiations are aimed at helping reverse this dangerous trend," he said.

In his speech at Yale University on the WTO's sustainable development agenda this week, Mr Lamy said the Doha Round of trade negotiations is the first ever round of negotiations to include an "environmental or green chapter," the first ever round of negotiations to encourage members to conduct environmental reviews at the national level. He said in the Doha Round, WTO members are mandated to explore the relationship between WTO rules and international environmental treaties, with a view to ensuring their mutual supportiveness. The negotiation can but reinforce the openness that the Appellate Body of the WTO has already demonstrated to taking other treaties into account, he added.

Mr Lamy said aim of the green chapter is also to help open markets to clean technology ; whether in terms of the "goods" or "services" that it entails. Stating it to be a very legitimate objective he said several of the goods such as solar panels, air filters and catalytic converters could help combat climate change.

The WTO director-general said these technologies must now be allowed to cross borders and made more accessible to the poor.

''We should not be penalizing environmental goods through tariffs, we should be promoting them. And the same goes for environmental services." Mr Lamy said for the WTO to accomplish bigger things on the environment, it must first complete the first ever environmental negotiating agenda that has been placed before it in the Doha Round. He asked if the world can not make a success of the first WTO Green Round, would any further "greening" be likely to follow?.


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