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WTO Trade Update

Published , from BusinessNZ

There is much more optimism about prospects for an outcome to the WTO negotiations than at any time since mid-2008. The breakthrough seems to be at the US-China level.

The conversations on the WTO were positive in the Obama – Hu Jintao meeting in Washington and this was reflected in the language of the official communiqué. The state of the union speech by Obama seemed also to be reasonably positive on trade.

It seems that the US really wants an outcome now and is prepared to reduce the size of its demands of countries such as China. China seems to sense this and looks ready to make some concessions that will give the US enough to sell the deal through the Congress.

The new Congress seems more positive on trade than the last one – which is very positive.

The questions now are around India and Brazil. India seems keen at ministerial level to settle this negotiation (who knows about the officials) and Brazil seems a little taken by surprise about the speed at which things are developing.

There is now a real prospect of salvaging this negotiation and achieving an outcome in 2011.

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