WTO's Lamy says trade deal doable in '08

1/06/2008 - 18:48

AREQUIPA, Peru (Reuters) - World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy said on Sunday developed and developing nations could still wrap up the Doha round of talks on a global trade deal this year.

"I still believe its doable this year," Lamy told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting of trade ministers from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the southern Peruvian city of Arequipa.

"We know how to get there. We need to cross this bridge of agricultural subsidies, industrial tariffs and agricultural tariffs soon, now, because otherwise we will not have enough time to cross this bridge to finish the road."

The WTO's Doha negotiations to bring down barriers to exports around the world are now in their seventh year but face a crucial test in the next few weeks, after which the U.S. presidential election may cause years of further delay.

APEC trade ministers were expected to issue a manifesto in Arequipa on Sunday urging negotiating nations to take immediate steps to prop up the limping Doha round.

The round has sputtered and gained momentum a handful of times since it was launched in November 2001, snared usually on differences between developed countries and major developing countries like China and India.

Lamy said on Sunday that the countries were progressing and that all the actors were ready to smooth out remaining issues, including areas like anti-dumping, fishery subsidies, environmental goods and environmental services.

"There still are a number of issues that need to be finalized," he said.

(Reporting by Jean Luis Arce; Writing by Pav Jordan; Editing by Eric Beech)

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