Qatar is the most likely venue of the next ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), scheduled to be held by the end 2001, said Paul-Henri Ravier, the WTO deputy director general, speaking in New Dehli on Thursday to members of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Still Ravier said that a new round of trade talks could only be launched when the major players showed flexibility on key issues. One of the main reasons for the failure of the earlier Seattle ministerial conference earlier was the uncompromising positions taken by these members on issues such as agriculture, anti-dumping and textiles and clothing, he said. Ravier noted that the idea of widening the scope of issues to include less contentious issues was being explored.
Ravier said that the increasing regionalization of trade is a real concern at the WTO, and he emphasized that the very reason that GATT was created after World War II was to prevent the creation of hostile trade blocs, which he said were acknowledged as being a major reason for the war.
He pointed out that since Seattle five new members had joined the WTO and others were considering membership, including Saudi Arabia. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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