Eight torturous years of talks over a new global trade pact should reach a conclusion next year after changes in the US and Indian governments, WTO chief Pascal Lamy said today.
Top US and Indian trade representatives agreed to "reset" the stalled Doha Round of trade liberalisation talks during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a conference of agricultural exporters in Indonesia, he said.
"We had not had that clear signal of 'reset' until now. What I got from here is that ... Yes, we should conclude this by 2010," the World Trade Organization (WTO) chief told reporters after three days of talks on Bali island.
US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the former Dallas mayor who was appointed by President Barack Obama in March, met the new Indian trade minister, Anand Sharma, for the first time here on Monday.
"What I saw is Ron Kirk and Anand Sharma clearly engaging in a process that should lead to the conclusion of the round some time next year," Lamy said, describing the Bali meeting as "significant."
Kirk avoided specifics about his meeting with Sharma but said the United States was committed to outlining a new basis for Doha negotiations by August, when the WTO begins its summer break.