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Agriculture News As It Happens

Lamy urges return to Doha round, announces end of his term

Pascal Lamy
WTO Director General Pascal Lamy

GENEVA — World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy announced tonight that he will not seek re-election when his current term expires on Sept. 1, 2013.

In concluding remarks at the eighth meeting of member country trade ministers, Lamy said he would not preside over another "regular" meeting of trade ministers. If the WTO follows a normal schedule, the next regular ministerial would be in late 2013.

That statement left open the possibility of a special meeting of ministers to conclude the Doha Development Agenda, also known as the DDA or the Doha round, which was launched in 2001.

Lamy said at a news conference that he had specifically included the word "regular" in his announcement.

"The DDA — declared dead so many times, lambasted as a negotiation of the past, decried as a failure — is all the more important today, with an ever deeper crisis looming, than it was in the past," Lamy told the ministers.

"You have taken a first step in this conference, in recognizing that there is an impasse, and a need to more fully explore different negotiating approaches, compatible with the principles of inclusiveness, transparency, bottom up of our work," he said. "Now there is a need to do exactly that: start exploring those approaches, Go back to business. In doing this, you will show that you care about the multilateral trading system, that you care about the WTO, that you are willing to help finding solutions to the economic crisis."

Lamy, a French national, was elected director general in 2005.

At the news conference, Lamy said no candidates had presented themselves to succeed him, but added, "And if there were I would not tell you."

He twice ignored questions about whether he would be a candidate for president of France.