World Trade Talks Need New Approach

American Farm Bureau will begin discussions to find new way.

Published on: Nov 10, 2008

The Doha Round of World Trade Organization global trade talks have been stalled for more of the seven years since they were begun than they've been moving forward. American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says the talks need a new structure for them to move forward.

"What’s happening in the World Trade Organization with negotiations, which require all countries to sign off on the agreement, is not working," said Stallman. "You have 153 countries involved in the negotiations and all are not there to improve trade flows. They have other interests and goals."

AFBF plans to begin discussions with domestic and international business and trade leaders in an effort to find a new way to move the talks forward by removing barriers that are currently hindering trade and damaging global economic markets.

"It is imperative during this "pause" in the WTO talks that we develop a new format that allows like-minded countries that want to move ahead to do so and I think that can be done within the WTO," said Stallman. "We’re not advocating trying to supplant the WTO because it is a rules-based trading system that exists and that works."

Stallman says that agriculture, manufacturing and other industries must work together despite the different issues and ideas each sector has. Farm Bureau hopes to find a new path forward that will help move talks along and hasten global economic recovery. Stallman is optimistic that a new approach will be welcomed by the new administration.

"Trade is an essential component of economic recovery," continued Stallman. "Turning to protectionism or accepting existing barriers is never an answer."