Deadline for global trade deal extended yet again

Leaders of the world’s big powers have set yet another deadline for concluding a deal aimed at liberalising global trade.

Meeting at the Group of Eight Summit in St-Petersburg, on 16 July 2006, the leaders of the United States, Japan, Germany, France, England, Italy and Canada (known as the G7 countries), adopted a communiqué, along with the European Commission, calling on WTO chief Pascal Lamy to continue work on facilitating an agreement between WTO members and to report to the multilateral trade body within one month. 

Russia is not yet a member of the WTO and is therefore not involved in the current round of negotiations, which have been stalled over the past months due to a lack of compromise between major trading powers on the size of the cuts that should be applied to agricultural tariffs and subsidies and industrial duties. 

After a series of missed deadlines, negotiators had, up till now, regarded the end of July – when the WTO closes for the summer break – as the limit for clinching a deal. The new deadline will give WTO countries an additional two weeks to revive the discussions. 

G8 leaders will on 17 July 2006 meet with the leaders of China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, in company of Mr. Lamy, and are expected to discuss how they can push talks forward. 

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