Three months since the Cancun debacle, the collapsed world trade talks still hang in the balance. World Trade Organization (wto) members met on December 15-16 to follow-up on the failed negotiations but little substance emanated from behind closed doors except an agreement on procedural issues of restarting negotiations through the Trade Negotiations Committee and the negotiating bodies under it.
In the immediate aftermath of the Cancun failure, the chairperson of the General Council (gc), Perez del Castillo, had suspended all official meetings of the negotiating bodies. Informal negotiations in Geneva and lobbying between capitals have been the order of the day since then. But that has only generated intense political rhetoric and little action.
The talks will now restart only in February 2004, when the gc meets to appoint the new chairpersons for the various negotiating bodies. Fears remain, however, that 2004 too will record little progress, with presidential elections due in the us and the election of new officials to the European Commission in the eu.
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