Whole package for Doha round will not be passed: WTO chief

March 19th, 2012 - 11:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Singapore, March 19 (IANS) World Trade Organisation Director-General Pascal Lamy Monday said the agreements for the Doha round of trade talks will not be passed as the whole package envisaged ten years ago.

Speaking at a dialogue session at the National University of Singapore, Lamy said the diplomatic reality has changed over the years so that the simple north-south division does not work anymore.

“We have to moved where you have rich countries, you have poor countries and in the middle you have countries — you don’t know whether they are poor or rich,” he said.

Lamy said the US and China disagreed on what China should be defined as — whether as a rich country or a poor one — and, therefore, what the principle of trade policies for China should be.

Nevertheless, Lamy said the difficulties the Doha round has run into do not mean that the work of WTO has stalled because the WTO is much more than just the Doha round.

About 85 percent of the resources at WTO were devoted to functions such as the legislative, the judiciary and technical assistance.

“The fact that there has been no significant protectionist wave (in recent years) is largely due to the capacity of the system” to track, analyze, peer review and discuss trade policies, he said.

The WTO has the supranational mechanism where the member states are legally bound to comply with its resolutions in trade disputes, he noted.

Lamy said the anti-free trade sentiment in the United States is a political reality.

Lamy has said earlier in Japan that the WTO can seek to advance trade liberalization talks by fields, such as the area of trade liberalization of services. It will also make efforts to prevent trade protectionism.

He also talked about the eurozone crisis, saying that it is a result of the economic leg of integration stronger than the political leg and that the solution lies with the Europeans.

“My own guess is that they will muddle through at a cost of credibility, at a cost for the tax payers, at a cost for the economy,” he said.

He said the financial crisis is a result of the failure to regulate the international financial system in a globally coordinated manner despite the system’s high level of integration.

It will take ten years to get out of the “big hole” that has been created as result of the lack of global governance over the international finance system, he said.

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