Murky Waters

With only a month and a half to go for an agreement by end July, the world multilateral trading system is facing an uncertain future if countries cannot settle their differences soon.
The 148 member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have still not arrived at agreements on the highly sensitive trade of agricultural products and industrial items.rn

rnBut according to the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), January 1, 2005 is the deadline to complete these negotiations.rn

rnIf the DDA is to keep to track and more important, if the world is to have faith in the multilateral trading system, WTO members must come to some consensus by end of July.rn

rnA framework level lquote July package that the WTO is pushing for does not require countries to make specific commitments now – these can be negotiated later endash but some level of agreement is needed to show the system can continue to work.rn

rnAddressing the 11 United Nations Trade and Development Conference (UNCTAD XI), in Brazil this week