1 Dec 2009

Time running out for Doha trade talks

2:16 pm on 1 December 2009

Time is running out for world trade talks which could be worth billions of dollars to exporting nations such as New Zealand, according to observers.

Trade ministers, including New Zealand's Tim Groser, began their first full meeting in four years at the World Trade Organisation's headquarters in Geneva on Monday.

Radio New Zealand's economics correspondent reports no formal negotiations are planned, but the meeting is another chance to bridge differences between the United States and developing countries, which caused the Doha round of trade talks to stall in July 2008.

Former trade negotiator Charles Finny says if a working agreement is not reached by May 2010, the round risks being overtaken by elections in a number of countries.

Mr Finny says if this happens, the talks could face further years of delay.

Mr Groser says he is not hopeful of a breakthrough at the meeting.