World Trade Organization Chief Warns Delay in Implementing Earlier Decision May Derail Future Trade Negotiations
January 9, 2003
World Trade Organization Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi on Wednesday warned member nations that delaying implementation of earlier agreements could derail future trade negotiations and harm the global economy. "The implications will be such that I do not even want to talk about them," Supachai told a Hyderabad, India, summit of 1,000 business executives from more than a dozen countries.Adapted from:
Supachai said many developing countries were angered by the failure last month of WTO members to honor a previous agreement to let poorer nations ignore patents and import cheap, generic drugs to treat epidemics like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
Developing countries say they would not agree to a new trade round until the United States, the European Union and other developed countries implement past agreements. They have long complained that Western nations were reneging on promises while forcing poorer countries to make new commitments, such as further reducing tariffs. At the last meeting of trade ministers in Doha, Qatar, in September, WTO members agreed to a set of deadlines to implement earlier decisions -- starting with the agreement on drugs.
Supachai, a former Thai commerce minister and trade negotiator, said WTO members must meet the Jan. 1, 2005 deadline to implement all agreements made during earlier rounds. Supachai added that significant progress would bolster US and EU hopes of launching a new trade round at a meeting of trade ministers in Mexico in September.
01.08.03; Omer Farooq
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.