Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Secretary-General Long Yongtu hopes that the upcoming trade ministers' meeting will give a boost to the stagnant Doha round of WTO talks.
Long made the remarks in an interview on the eve of BFA Annual Conference 2004, which is being held on April 24 and 25 in Boao, a small scenic town in China's southernmost province of Hainan.
A trade ministers' meeting was specially scheduled during this year's conference. The top trade officials from Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Japan, China and the Philippines will gather to discuss the post-Cancun talks.
Long Yongtu is China's former vice minister of trade and the country's chief representative in WTO negotiations. The international trade veteran said that the meeting is an important one, which he is hoping will present Asian viewpoints on WTO talks.
"WTO negotiations are usually led by the United States and European Union, and if the Boao Forum can present a fresh viewpoint on behalf of Asian and Oceanic countries, it will certainly benefit the current round of WTO talks," said Long.
Market access for produce, export subsidies and domestic support are stubbornly thorny problems in the Doha round of WTO negotiations, and finally led to a bitter stall-out in the talks at Cancun, Mexico, last September. It is hoped that the Boao Forum will provide a platform in which these participating countries, both developed and developing, can exchange views and overcome hurdles. Long Yongtu believes that the viewpoints and suggestions voiced in Boao will eventually contribute to the Doha round of WTO talks.
The Doha round of trade negotiations is due to conclude by January 1, 2005.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Tang Fuchun April 24, 2004)