Reports coming out of Geneva confirm it will be impossible to conclude the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations by the end of 2011.
Negotiators are discussing a potential smaller package of trade concessions. However, no consensus has been reached on what is to be included.
WTO Director General Pascal Lamy indicated during a May 31 meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee that the package should focus on benefits to least developed countries.
“For the United States, a core principle of our work going forward is this: All major players must make a meaningful contribution to any package deliverables for 2011,” Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Michael Punke said.
“To be blunt, this will not work if Members treat this as an ‘everybody but us’ exercise. All major players must take steps that are politically difficult. And, on that score, we are frankly concerned we are hearing more from some about what they cannot do rather than what they can do.
“This simply will not work if the expectation is that one, or even two, of the major players will make the difficult choices while other major players sit on the sideline”.
Many questions remain unanswered including if WTO members can agree to a smaller deal by the December ministerial and the path forward for remaining negotiations.