World Bank chief calls for breakthrough progress on Doha Round

2008-07-21 02:36:27 GMT       2008-07-21 10:36:27 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick urged trade ministers on Sunday to reach an accord on the Doha Development Agenda.

"It has never been more important for WTO members to move forward on the Doha Development Agenda. It's now or never," said Zoellick on the eve of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting, which will be held in Geneva, Switzerland next week.

"A breakthrough in the Doha Round would infuse confidence in a world economy buffeted by high food and energy prices, as well as financial strains," he said.

"Both developing and developed economies stand to gain from lower barriers to goods and agriculture," said the World Bank leader. "There are also great opportunities to expand trade among developing economies -- the so-called South-South trade, which is expanding rapidly."

A solid Doha deal should also boost markets for services which are an increasing share of global GDP and for enablers of national development and infrastructure, as well as complement the measures to facilitate trade, said Zoellick.

"Breakthrough progress on the Doha Round is essential if we are to resist the current cries for protectionism," he said, warning that a return to economic isolationism "would reap the losses, not the gains, of globalization."

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