WTO ‘slap in the face for isolationism’

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Series Details Vol.7, No.42, 15.11.01, p1
Publication Date 15/11/2001
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Date: 15/11/01

By Peter Chapman

Agriculture chief Franz Fischler has hailed the decision to launch a new trade round as a "slap in the face for isolationism".

Fischler, speaking at the close of six days of talks at the World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting in Qatar, said: "We have kicked off a party where everyone gets a prize."

The Austrian jointly led a 50-strong EU delegation at the conference with Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy. US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said launching the new round had "removed the stain of Seattle", where talks two years ago collapsed after opposition from developing nations and street protests.

Fischler admitted that the Doha talks came close to failure. A French veto on the phase-out of farming export subsidies was only averted after the EU won assurances that their elimination would not be a fait accompli.

The EU pledged to address Thai and Filipino concerns over lost tuna exports due to the Union's special treatment of the African, Caribbean and Pacific bloc. And India only accepted a final deal after it won an opt-out from talks on investment and competition.

World Bank economists say that launching a new round could boost world income by €3 trillion by 2015. Earlier in the talks, the WTO nations agreed to strengthen the rights of poor countries to compulsorily license life-saving medicines. The outcome did not please all. Friends of the Earth said the WTO's new timetable was a "disaster for sustainable development".

Report of comments by Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler on the decision to launch a new round of trade negotiations, following the fourth WTO Ministerial Meeting, Doha, Qatar, 9-13 November 2001.

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Record URL https://www.europeansources.info/record/?p=257780