How Can Progress in Geneva Move WTO Talks Forward?

Ministers are trying to salvage what was accomplished for use when talks resume.

This week's collapse of negotiations of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization global trade talks was disappointing. However 18 of 20 areas did reach convergence by the members, but arguments concerning the other 10% ultimately ended the ministerial meeting.

"We have not been able to find convergence in the area of the special safeguard mechanism and we did not even get around to discussing cotton," says WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell.

Although the approach the WTO has taken during the Doha Round has been that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, but U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and other ministers say there may be a way to gather what progress has been made for future deliberations.

"If one can perhaps step back and simplify or parse out pieces of it, what can we get done," Schwab says. "Taking a practical approach, what can we move forward?"

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy reported Thursday that there were multiple strong calls for preserving the package that had been so painfully negotiated in order to conclude this Round successfully. He said there is no doubt that looking at what is on the table now members believe that the Doha Round is still worth fighting for.

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