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Fingers Crossed on Trade Round – NZ Minister

  • January 25th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

nz-flag-smaller.gifThe New Zealand Trade Minister, Phil Goff, says there is qualified optimism about the Doha Round international trade talks getting back on track.

He spoke with EU Australia in Brussels after talking to senior European officials, and the American Trade representative Susan Schwab, about prospects for a resumption of the Doha Round negotiations, which broke down last July.

He saw the European trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, and the Agriculture Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel,

The Minister said there had been “no breakthrough” in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) process, but international negotiators had been speaking together more, and positive steps had been taken since the end of last year.

He said they might still give up hope and go over completely to bilateral dealings, country-to-country – but that would leave out important changes, like ending export incentives and trade distorting subsidies.

Mr Goff went on to the world economics meeting at Davos in Switzerland, amid speculation about a compromise to get the trade talks going again.

The European Union has proposed cutting its tariffs by 50%, the highest ones most, subject to reciprocal steps, like a suggestion that the United States might offer a 54% reduction in agricultural export subsidies.

Sticking points in the negotiations, which under existing mandates need to be recommenced in the first half of this year, are trade in agricultural goods, industrial products and services.

Mr Goff who is also Defence Minister visited the Brussels headquarters of the North Atlantic Alliance about the current engagement of New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan, under NATO command..

NATO has decided to offer closer co-operation, extending to collaboration on strategic planning, to the so-called Asia-Pacific “contact countries” connected with it in Afghanistan: Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Reference:

“La France bloque la relance des negotiations a l’OMC”, Le Monde, Paris, 24.1.07, p 8 (France holds up relaunching of the WTO negotiations)

“Doha, Defence and Disarmament on Goff’s European Agenda”, http:www.beehive.govt.nz (24.1.07).

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