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Lamy Optimistic on Completing Doha Round

When the G-20 countries met in London earlier this year much of the attention was placed on the impact of the global economic crisis on the developing world.  The Doha round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations was to have addressed this issue.  However, negotiations broke down in July, 2008 due to disagreements between EU countries and the U.S. on agricultural subsidies.  This November, 2005 report provides a good analysis of the implications of various policy options:  http://bit.ly/DohaDevelopmentAgenda.  The below aerial photograph of the Luang Prabang area within Laos illustrates that even small plots on the banks of the Mekong are important for subsistence agriculture in the developing world.

20080803genevaA meeting of the Cairns Group, reported on today by Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung, noted that Pascal Lamy, the Secretary-General of the WTO is now optimistic that these differences in agricultural subsidies can be overcome and the Doha Round can move forward.  This is good news for the developing world as countries seek to trade their way out of the current global economic crisis.  The value of successful negotiations is estimated to be worth at least US$150B.  Lamy noted, however, that the ultimate success will depend how the U.S. Congress responds.

U.S. Congressional representatives should be contacted by their constituents to ensure that protectionist approaches do not overshadow the real gains that can be made with a globally integrated and well functioning system.