By NEIL KING JR. in Washington, SCOTT MILLER in Geneva and JOHN LYONS in Mexico City, The Wall Street Journal
Congressional approval of a trade pact with six small Central American countries nudged forward the Bush administration's free-trade agenda. But the close vote and bitter fight underscored anxiety about the pace of globalization and clouded prospects for approval of future deals.
At 12:03 am on July 28th, the House of Representatives approved the Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement, CAFTA. CAFTA, which would expand NAFTA to Central America and the Dominican Republic, would devastate farmers, privatize essential public services, and accelerate the race to the bottom on wages in the US and all over Central America.
WTO authorities played down the significance of the new stalemate in the Doha Round of talks and the threat hanging over the sixth ministerial conference in Hong Kong. But civil society organisations see the multilateral trade system's latest fiasco in a much more serious light.
General Council Chair Amina Mohamad will announce a 'rigorous and regimented' work program leading to an ambitious outcome at the World Trade Organization Hong Kong ministerial conference this December
Key members of the World Trade Organization yesterday vowed to launch a make-or-break next phase of Doha Development Agenda consultations starting in September to arrive at full modalities in agriculture, market access for industrial products and services
The WTO General Council meeting ended today without any of the original anticipated results of additional agreements (or 'first approximations') on agriculture,non-agricultural market access, services and 'development issues.'