G8 wants Russia WTO entry talks completed in 2011

DEAUVILLE, France Fri May 27, 2011 6:25am EDT

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DEAUVILLE, France (Reuters) - Group of Eight leaders on Friday renewed a pledge to wrap up talks this year on Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization.

At a meeting in the northern French resort of Deauville, the G8 economic powers said the long-stalled Doha round of negotiations on global trade was a matter of "great concern" and that they would explore all options to get things moving.

The eight -- the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Canada and Russia -- said WTO entry talks with Moscow were making considerable progress and that the G8 as a group had reaffirmed "their commitments to working closely with Russia, with the intention to finalize this process in 2011."

More generally, they said in a statement due to be released at the end of their two-day gathering that the Doha round of trade talks should not allowed to die.

"As part of its continued efforts to support the recovery of the global economy, the G8 reaffirms its longstanding commitment to free and open markets," said the statement, a copy of which was obtained in advance by Reuters.

"G8 members of the WTO note with great concern the unsatisfactory progress in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations," it said.

"We reiterate our commitment to advance the process of trade liberalization and rule-making to strengthen the multilateral system, and are ready to explore all negotiating options to bring the Doha round to a conclusion including with regard to the priorities of least developed countries (LDCs) in line with the Doha mandate."

European diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was what one of them called a "high degree of common irritation" that the Doha trade talks were stalled.

They said G8 leaders discussed the fact that many emerging countries were negotiating as if they were still in the early stages of industrial development, whereas their economies had been transformed in recent years, making the circumstances very different. That is a criticism many level at China.

The diplomats said there was a clear sense that the Doha round of talks, which began in 2001, would have to be rekindled "in the coming weeks" or face definitive collapse.

(Reporting by Brian Love and Luke Baker; editing by Alastair Macdonald)

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