ECONOMY: G20 Sees Small Window to Seal WTO Doha Deal in 2011
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In a statement released after a two-day summit, leaders of the Group of 20 major economies welcomed what they called the "broader and more substantive" engagement of the past four months among negotiators at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva.
"Bearing in mind that 2011 is a critical window of opportunity, albeit narrow, this engagement must intensify and expand. We now need to complete the end game," the G20 said.
Leaders instructed their negotiators to promptly bring the market-opening talks to a comprehensive and balanced conclusion.
World leaders have been issuing such exhortations for several years. The Doha round was launched in the Qatari capital in 2001.
U.S. President Barack Obama told other leaders at a lunchtime discussion over trade that he would take a deal to Congress and fight for it, once the right deal was on the table, a senior trade source said.
"What I get from this summit is political energy and a sense that next year is the year when we have to try and wrap it up," said the source, who took part in summit meetings in Seoul.
Over the past two years many countries have argued that a virtual deadlock in the talks was due to a lack of interest on the part of the United States.
But in recent months U.S. diplomats have been working in Geneva to get the negotiations moving.
U.S. officials say that what is currently on offer is not attractive enough to American business, and therefore is unlikely to find support in Congress, while big emerging economies like China, Brazil and India say that the deal can be tweaked but not changed radically. (Additional reporting by Jonathan Lynn in Geneva; editing by Ralph Boulton) (Reporting by Alan Wheatley; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)
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