Tuesday, May 02, 2006
As Doha flounders, CARICOM Countries get second wind
Nevertheless US officials feel a more important date than the missed April 30 deadline is the end of 2006. They maintain that negotiators could agree on the 'modalities' at some point in the summer without derailing the overall talks. However, if a Doha Round agreement is not concluded by the end of 2006, there will likely not be enough time for the U.S. Congress to consider the document before President Bush’s trade promotion authority expires in mid-2007. The real critical date for getting a new trade reform agreement, according to US officials will most likely be December 2006.
In the meantime, a group of nine Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have taken advantage of the impasse to petition the WTO to extend their export subsidy programs to the year 2018, on the basis that they are of great importance to their economic and financial needs. The WTO Committee reportedly decided that the request for an extension will be given consideration in October this year.