"This round won't fail," promised World Trade Organization Agricultural Committee Chairman Tim Groser of New Zealand, when discussing the current Doha Development Agenda negotiations.
WTO and its predecessor organization are on their eighth round of substantial talks to liberalize trade. And one thing is also certain Groser adds, "We always do the right thing in the wrong way in too long of time."
The statement was made in Groser's presentation to attendees of the Danish Guild of Agricultural Journalists Conference Monday. The event focused heavily on world trade issues and how the European Union and United States fit into that issue.
Within the last few weeks an agreement was reached on tariff reduction calculations. But in solving that issue Groser explains four months was wasted reaching the solution. Groser says it is time to "start the process of adjusting expectations" to draw closer to a more concrete framework by this July to provide further "architectural plans" for the ministerial meeting in Hong Kong this December.
Market access remains an issue that must be solved before July. Groser didn't want to point to any countries in particular that should compromise on the market access issue. But he says it won't get any easier as time goes on to make decisions. Things can no longer be set back, but must proceed.
When speaking privately with Farm Progress, Groser says the United States Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that allows trade agreements to be voted up or down in Congress is creating a timeline that may help prevent further delays or setbacks in negotiations. Because TPA is set to expire in June 2007, it will be crucial for negotiators to have a deal hammered out no later than 2006 to allow Congress the time it needs to approve a final WTO agreement. This will also coincide nicely with the writing of the next farm bill.