Global Trade Talks are Doable

WTO head has high hopes despite European Union pessimism.

World Trade Organization leader Pascal Lamy says the Doha Round of global trade talks is doable this year. He says the floundering process that has stretched to more than seven years could possibly be approved by the 151 member countries of the WTO before the end of 2008. Lamy made his remarks Saturday following a meeting with the president of South Africa.

The day before, European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson made comments that the talks are set to fail unless negotiators can restore balance on the issues and complete a deal quickly before the U.S. Presidential election.

"I now fear that Doha is facing a high risk of failure, the first failure ever for a multilateral trade round. That would not be a good signal for the global economy which needs the confidence boost and the insurance against protectionism," Mandelson says. "It would signal that the international community is simply not capable of pulling together when it comes to global economic governance."

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