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Doha not dead yet

Resource News International

Left for dead back in the summer, the World Trade Organization’s struggling Doha round is slowly being prodded back to life through a series of informal consultations in Geneva.

Canadian agriculture groups welcomed the news.

Ambassador Crawford Falconer, chair of the WTO’s agricultural committee, has been meeting informally with countries since early Oct. to talk about the outstanding issues which ultimately led to the collapse of the ministerial-level farm talks in July.

According to the WTO, an agr iculture meeting with the full membership is also eventually planned. These “walks in the woods” talks, as they have been dubbed, give members the opportunity to voice their concerns and dislikes about the negotiating text issued in July and to talk about how to move Doha forward.

Key issues being discussed include the creation of new tariff rate quotas, sensi -tive products, tariff simplification, “green box,” cotton and tropical products, as well as special safeguard mechanisms.

Darcy Davis, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, said with the global economic crisis happening right now, it is more important than ever to work at reaching a trade agreement, Darcy said.

“To just let it rest would be a mistake. More protectionist policies may be put into place in different countries and a lot of the gains that have been made could still be lost,” he continued.

Renee S. David, spokesperson for the trade media relations branch of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, confirmed that Canada is among the countries participating in the talks.

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