Trade Policy and WTO Newsletter (April 2011)

Global Developments in International Trade

The news from Geneva is that of an impasse once again in the world trade talks. On April 13, 2011, after holding a series of meetings (confessionals) with the representatives of the G7 countries (Australia, Brazil, China, the EU, India, Japan and the US) on nonagricultural market access (NAMA), Pascal Lamy declared that the gap between the industrialised and emerging countries was unbridgeable. On April 21, the WTO secretariat released texts in all areas of negotiations. These texts reveal that equally significant divergences exist in all the other major areas of negotiations. Clearly, when the Trade Negotiations Committee meets on April 29, 2011 to take a view on the reports of the Chairpersons of various negotiating groups and the comments of the Director General, WTO members will face their moment of decision – whether to let ten years of trade negotiations go to waste or to try and salvage some of the more positive outcomes from the negotiations. This article offers a preliminary analysis of the state of the negotiations on key issues.