U.S. must be more reasonable at Doha table: Mexico WTO candidate

Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:27pm EST
 
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By Simon Gardner

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Global trade talks are in crisis and private companies in the United States urgently need to pressure their government back to the negotiating table, Mexico's candidate to head the World Trade Organization said on Wednesday.

Herminio Blanco, a former Mexican trade minister who led negotiations to create the North American Free Trade Agreement, insists it is vital to revive the stalled Doha round of trade talks.

"At this point in time the Doha round is in crisis," Blanco told Reuters in an interview ahead of a world tour to lobby for his candidacy. "The private sectors have to tell the governments it is fundamental to solve these negotiations."

"One of the first targets has to be the United States. The private sector of the United States has to tell the government: You have to move in Geneva ... you have to be more reasonable in your positions, you have to get to the table and you have to negotiate."

Countries have tried unsuccessfully for over a decade to conclude the Doha round of world trade talks, which was supposed to open up new markets in agriculture, manufacturing and services, and help the world's poorest countries.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy declared an "impasse" in 2011.

A host of free trade agreements, Asia-Pacific free trade talks and a push by the United States and the European Union to start negotiating a vast transatlantic free trade pact by June underscore the need for new rules that address evolving obstacles to trade, he said.

A deal between the United States and EU would be the most ambitious since the WTO was founded in 1995 and highlights impatience at failure to agree to global tariff cuts.   Continued...

 
Herminio Blanco, Mexican candidate to head the World Trade Organization (WTO), smiles during an interview with Reuters in Mexico City February 13, 2013. Global trade talks are in crisis and private companies in the United States urgently need to pressure their government back to the negotiating table, Blanco said on Wednesday. Blanco, a former Mexican trade minister who led negotiations to create the North American Free Trade Agreement, insists it is vital to revive the stalled Doha round of trade talks. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido