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Industry proving ‘difficult’: WTO mediator

Published on 03/12/2008

3 December 2008

GENEVA – The World Trade Organisation’s chief negotiator on industrial products said Tuesday that industry issues are proving to be a serious difficulty in talks to secure an overall global trade liberalisation deal.

Current proposals call for specific industry sectors to receive greater tariff cuts than the overall general level of reductions.

"I wouldn’t qualify it as a deal-breaker but it’s a serious, difficult question that has to be put on track," said Luzius Wasescha, who is also Switzerland’s ambassador to the World Trade Organisation.

Talks on a global trade accord under the WTO Doha Round continued since 2001 due to differences between developed and developing countries over trade in industrial and agricultural goods.

Calls were made for another attempt to reach an agreement by the end of 2008 to boost the economy and minimise the impact of the global financial crisis.

Wasescha said he was expecting to produce a revised negotiation text for officials by the end of the first week of December.

"There are fair chances to solve additional questions by the end of this week but these require additional consultations. Therefore my text will come out at the very end of this week," he said.

[AFP / Expatica]