G20 leaders drop Doha target, see smaller deals

Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:07pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

HUNTSVILLE, Ontario (Reuters) - World leaders dropped a commitment on Saturday to complete the troubled Doha trade round this year and vowed to push forward on bilateral and regional trade talks until a global deal could be done.

Leaders from the Group of Eight rich nations, meeting north of Toronto, renewed a pledge to finish the World Trade Organization's Doha round, which was launched nearly nine years ago, but they included no target date for completion.

Last year, a G8 summit in Italy and a Pittsburgh meeting of the Group of 20 both committed to a 2010 end date that now looks impossible to meet.

A draft communique for a summit this weekend of the broader Group of 20, which includes emerging trade powers like China and Brazil, also had no target date for a Doha deal.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who chaired the G8 summit, said Doha was not dead.

"I don't think we can afford to say that. We've got to find a path over time to get to a successful conclusion," he told a closing news conference.

"Those of us who favor liberalized trade are not going to stand still. ... Canada and many other governments are committed to more aggressively pursuing bilateral and regional trade deals as a way of kick-starting the process while we see the Doha talks remaining stalled."

Trade ministers have long said a multilateral trade deal at the WTO would be more beneficial for the global economy than more limited bilateral and regional agreements.   Continued...