WTO talks on sticking point continue at technical level: Lamy

GENEVA, August 1, 2008 (AFP) – Talks at a technical level are under way at the World Trade Organization on safeguard issues that ended marathon negotiations on a global trade deal this week, WTO head Pascal Lamy revealed on Friday. He told journalists it was necessary to overcome the safeguard technical issue that had caused the negotiations to break down.

The clauses would protect some WTO members against certain categories of imports if they rose above pre-set levels.

Lamy said that the participants could not throw the towel in, adding that he would visit India in a week’s time and then “probably” the United States.

Lamy made his remarks during the signing with the Swiss government of an agreement for the extension and renovation of the WTO headquarters here.

His comments came amid disarray and uncertainty over the implications of the breakdown in the talks, and over what happens next regarding global or bilateral trade agreements.

A source close to the WTO, who declined to be named, said broader meetings on agriculture issues and access to markets for non-agriculture products could be resumed this autumn (in the northern hemisphere) “at the earliest after September 15.”

A senior WTO official told A