WTO may not be close to deal

Stephen Beard Jul 24, 2008
HTML EMBED:
COPY

WTO may not be close to deal

Stephen Beard Jul 24, 2008
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Stacey Vanek-Smith: The World Trade Organization will resume talks in Geneva today. Negotiators are trying to reach a global trade deal by the weekend. Observers say that’s probably not going to happen, and that could hurt the world economy, as Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: A three-way deal is under discussion. Rich countries cut their farm subsidies. Poor countries open up their markets to more industrial goods. And a big shake-up in the service sector, with less restriction on the movement of skilled workers around the globe.

Agreement seems as elusive as ever, and a deadline is looming. If a deal is not done before the August holiday begins, agreement will be further delayed by the U.S. election in the fall. The whole round of talks could easily fail.

Peter Sutherland, former head of the WTO, told the BBC that could have very damaging consequences:

Peter Sutherland: It will increase, I think, the likelihood of more protectionism, which we’ve already seen evidence of both in the European case and also in the United States in the lead up to the presidential election. We can’t allow that to happen.

The talks are due to end on Saturday, but could drag on into next week.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.