Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mr. Kirk and the Early Harvest

Here’s what US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said to a luncheon meeting of the Agribusiness Council on Tuesday when asked about the prospects for an early harvest in the Doha Development Agenda –

"Well, you know the easy thing for everybody to do in Doha is to all say let’s just do what we’ve all agreed on. Well, okay. Then you try to make a list of what it is that everyone has agreed on.

There is a reality that you’ve not going to bridge the gaps, particularly in manufacturing and others in order to conclude the round in the foreseeable future.

So there was some thought that if you could have a package of those items on which you had some consensus, maybe you could have an ‘early’ harvest if you could find a way to give, frankly, the developed economies some assurance that everybody just won’t pocket this and run away.

So how do you do that in a way that creates an incentive for us to come back to tackle the tough issues around market access in manufacturing and opening up services. Trade facilitation – that’s the good news.

The bad news in Doha is that there’s 10 people in the room, we all got 10 different things on the list. So it is a challenge. It is engaging at times. Ridiculously humorous. You need a good sense of humor to do what we do.

What some of us perceive as being thoughtful in terms of keeping, frankly, the emerging markets engaged and adding a reason to bring them back to the table on some issues which they believe they can address. So, we’re not there yet. We’re not there. We’re not ready to give up, but we’re not there.

Jim Berger

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