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17 October 2017 22:41 (South Africa)

Developing nations look south for trade, tired of endless WTO rounds

Twenty-two developing nations say they will slash tariffs on manufactured goods to boost South-South trade in the absence of progress in the Doha round of the World Trade Organisation. Nothing happens quickly at the WTO, which is in its ninth year of talks. So, now it seems that ministers from emerging economies gathered in Geneva are taking matters into their own hands, after WTO director-general Pascal Lamy pronounced the usual platitudes, using words such as “doable” and phrases such as “when we will know whether or not...”. Brazil and South Africa are keen to discuss a trade agreement between the Latin American trade bloc Mercosur, the Southern African Customs Union and India. The developing countries want to show they are supportive of trade liberalisation and are not to blame for the endless WTO rounds. Argentina’s foreign minister Jorge Taiana said the countries of the south were keen to clinch deals to expand trade, in a process of liberalisation compatible with development. Sounds good. Let’s see it happen. Read more:  Reuters, Reuters

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