Speaking at the UN Economic and Social Council in Geneva Monday, World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy urged developed nations to act quickly to conclude the Doha Round of global trade talks.
"WTO Members have pledged to conclude these negotiations around the end of the year," Lamy says. "But if this is to be achieved, we need key progress in agriculture subsidies and tariffs on agriculture and industrial tariffs now."
A meeting of major WTO players - the U.S., EU, Brazil and India - in Germany this summer failed to bring an agreement on those issues, and Lamy warns that the failure "could be fatal if these four members do not play a constructive role in the multilateral negotiations which are now entering into a crucial stage in Geneva."
Lamy says that the concessions required of these countries are small. "Reaching agreement on subsidies depends on additional concessions from the US equivalent to less than a week's worth of transatlantic trade," he says. " It depends on an additional handful of percentage reduction in the highest agriculture tariffs by the EU and Japan. It depends on an additional handful of percentage reduction in the highest industrial tariffs by emerging economies such as Brazil or India. All this to be done, not by tomorrow, but over a transition period of several years to leave space for a smooth adjustment."
"What remains to be done is small compared to all the proposals already on the table," he says.