Iowa Public Television


WTO Talks at Last-Ditch Stage

posted on July 16, 2004

Almost a year after the collapse of global talks, World Trade Organization officials are making a last-ditch effort in Geneva, Switzerland, to complete unfinished work.

But they still have to persuade the 147 member governments to agree on many issues, especially the opening up of international trade in farm goods.

The proposed framework for a legally binding treaty to cut import duties and regulate trade-distorting government subsidies was put together by Japanese Ambassador Notaro Oshima, who chairs the WTO's ruling General Council.

The document was expected to be handed to negotiators late Friday, July 16, and will be discussed informally at the WTO next week before it is officially put to the General Council.

The WTO tried to complete its framework at a meeting of ministers in Cancun, Mexico, last September. But differences were so wide between rich and poor countries and between agricultural importers and exporters that talks collapsed.

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