The International Chamber of Commerce welcomes the call issued by the G8 leaders in St. Petersburg for a concerted effort to conclude the Doha Round of trade negotiations by the end of this year – with a new deadline of mid-August for agreeing on negotiating procedures for agricultural and industrial goods.
But will they now exercise their authority to push through the compromises needed to get concrete results?
G8 leaders have time and again committed themselves to deadlines and results for the Doha Round that were not fulfilled. They have a serious credibility problem in this area and the business community will not be waving any flags until it sees solid progress in the few months left.
“ICC welcomes positive statements from the G8, but we’ve seen several of these already during the course of the Doha Round and they have not yet yielded the required results,” said ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban. “In the five years since the Doha Round was launched, deadlines have come and gone and progress has been painfully slow. We are sceptical that the desired momentum will be achieved this time unless G8 leaders authorize more flexibility on the substance of the talks.”
ICC Chairman Marcus Wallenberg said: “A good deal is still do-able despite the short amount of time left. The elements are well known. What is still lacking is a demonstration of the political will on all sides to do it. The world business community is looking to the heads of state and government present at St. Petersburg to remain personally engaged after they return home until a final accord is in the bag.”
Mr Wallenberg is also the Chairman of Saab and the Chairman of SEB, the Swedish banking group.
ICC, which champions a rules-based, multilateral trading system, is the main business partner of the World Trade Organization, helping to advance its pro-trade agenda.
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