John Key Calls For Rapid Progress In WTO Negotiations

I have just read John Key’s speech to the APEC CEO Summit.  It was interesting in a number of respects.  I hope it is well read internationally as it will send a strong and positive signals to the international investment community about why they should continue to have confidence in new Zealand.

I was most pleased with Key’s comments on the need to act on the G20’s call for finalisation of modalities for the WTO negotiations by the end of the year

The G20 has pushed the idea that Doha should be resolved – and I can’t speak loudly enough to that. The G20 leaders have put their reputations on the line, calling for an agreement by the end of this year on the crucial decisions needed to take this Round to a successful conclusion. Our Trade Ministers at this meeting have issued a similar strong call for action. I am certain APEC leaders will follow suit.

Let me put it bluntly. Against the backdrop of those political statements and against the background of the international economic turmoil, a failure to follow through in Geneva and deliver the results we need would represent nothing short of a political failure.

Now is most definitely not the time for any individual country to allow their worsening domestic economy to lead to a retreat from global trade and engagement.

It is here that business leaders such as yourselves have a vital role to play. The task falls to you to urge your governments to make the moves necessary to deliver further trade liberalisation.

Lets hope that everyone acts on calls such as this from our leaders.  Unfortunately there are still no signs of a breakthrough in Geneva.

Countries negotiating a new global trade pact showed no willingness to budge from their fixed positions in past days, the chairman of agriculture talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Friday.

“Zip, nada, nyet, nul … They ain’t changed their positions,” mediator Crawford Falconer told journalists after holding talks that were meant to clear the way for ministers to come to Geneva to seek a breakthrough in the WTO’s Doha round.

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