28 Jun 2010

Downgrade of Doha talks a concern - envoy

9:19 pm on 28 June 2010

New Zealand's special agricultural trade envoy says the G8's decision to downgrade world trade talks should concern exporters.

For the first time, the world's richest economies are urging countries to do trade deals among themselves instead.

Alistair Polson says New Zealand is at the forefront of doing the sort of smaller trade deals the G8 is now backing, and these should help get rid of the tariffs exporters face in world markets.

But he says they will not eliminate subsidies that support uneconomic production overseas and force down prices.

G8 nations have abandoned a pledge to finish the Doha round of trade negotiations by the end of the year.

Doha trade deadline abandoned

G8 nations said in Canada they would push ahead with the Doha round of World Trade Organisation talks - which have been stalled over agricultural subsidies and free trade in services.

But the text dropped a previous deadline to complete the round by the end of 2010. Instead it said countries should do deals amongst themselves.

Former trade negotiator Charles Finny says success in Doha is more valuable to New Zealand than regional deals.

But, he says, there was a limit to how much the G8 could "talk up" the round, which has been stalled for several years.