The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

WTO leaders issue guidance for trade ministers

As the world’s trade ministers prepare to gather in Geneva Dec. 15 to 17 for a trade ministerial meeting, WTO leaders have issued what they call “guidance” to the ministers.

Member countries should welcome the accessions of Vanuatu, Samoa, and the Russian Federation to the WTO, Yonov Frederick Agah, the Nigerian ambassador to the WTO and current chairman of the council, wrote in a document that is expected to be included in the final declaration from the meeting.

Agah also wrote that the declaration should note the commitment of the WTO to the least developed countries and confirm the minsiters’ commitment from the Hong Kong ministerial declaration to address cotton “ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically,” within the agriculture negotiations.

Although many ministers and analysts view the prospects for progress on the Doha round at the meeting as dim, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy also said in a Nov. 30 statement that in his consultations he has seen no signals to give up on the Doha round goals and believes that there is “convergence” to continue on the goals and to continue making development part of the agenda for the round.