World trade talks risk failure: WTO chief Pascal Lamy

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New Delhi, Jul 26: World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lamy on Friday, July 25, warned that the World trade talks risk failure if there is no big change in the positions of seven ministers who resumed second round of parleys in Geneva on the fifth day of the ministerial meeting of about 30 key members of the WTO.

The ministerial was restricted to seven big players, including India, the US and EU, by Lamy, saying it is important for them to narrow their differences first before others could be involved. But Switzerland, Turkey, Indonesia, Argentina, Mauritius and Chinese Taipei among others expressed ''frustration'' at being left out of the talks Warning that time is running out, Lamy said ''some convergences have been recorded but progress remains painfully slow after four days of ministerial-level negotiation''. He said ''the world outside will not understand if we fail to grasp this opportunity to conclude a Round that already has a great deal on the table.'' The WTO director-general cautioned delegations that without more flexibility they ''will face the serious consequences of failure''.

In his report to an informal meeting of the all powerful trade negotiations committee(TNC), Lamy said ''This is the blunt reality.

The situation as I see it is critical, edging between success and failure.'' He urged members to move from their stated positions.

Lamy said both the services signalling conference and the formal TNC will probably have to be postponed. But he told delegations to standby in case another informal meeting of TNC is called at short notice.

When asked whether the talks could continue into the following week, WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell said ministers have indicated they would be willing to do so if progress is made today, according to the WTO website.

Meanwhile, reports emanating from the camp of developed countries, mainly the US, EU and Canada, from Geneva blamed India for the ''painfully slow progress'' at the global trade talks.

Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, who re-joined talks on July 23 after the UPA government won trust vote in Parliament, has repeatedly stated that India would not compromise on the livelihood concern of its millions of poor farmers in agriculture talks nor on its infant industries like textiles, automobiles and chemicals.


UNI

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