Several Factions Oppose December WTO Meeting

Ministers from member nations will meet in Geneva next week.

Published on: Dec 4, 2008

A World Trade Organization meeting of member nation's trade ministers has been scheduled in Geneva for Dec. 12 in an attempt to move negotiations forward on the Doha Round of global trade talks. However some groups are not in favor of the meeting, which is expected to run through Dec. 15.

A group of congressional leaders sent a letter to President Bush opposing this December meeting. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman agrees with their stance saying before such a meeting is held there should be sufficient evidence that WTO members are truly committed to granting meaningful market access.

"In light of the deteriorating status of world trade talks, some member nations, especially those considered key emerging economies, still are not committed to opening their markets," Stallman says. "In fact several nations are hardening or revising their positions, which further reduces their willingness to make real trade reform."

According to Stallman AFBF and several manufacturing and service organizations have expressed to President Bush their strong opposition of a December meeting.

"The December timetable is arbitrary and places the Doha Round of WTO talks in jeopardy, especially given the overall lack of progress in recent discussions," Stallman said. "Moving ahead with a deal that Congress and agriculture cannot support would be detrimental to the overall stature of the WTO as an institution and would provide no stimulus to the slumping global economy."

Stallman emphasized that the talks need to increase trade opportunities and decrease agricultural trade barriers and protectionist behavior.