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Hong Kong Optimistic On Doha Round

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

16 May 2007


With its commitment to free trade and the technical competence of its trade policy officials, Hong Kong will contribute to the successful conclusion of the Doha Round negotiations, Financial Secretary Henry Tang has said.

Attending a dinner hosted by World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy in Geneva on Monday night, Tang argued that free trade is key to improving the living standard of people in less-developed economies.

"While the Doha Round is yet to be concluded, we have come a long way since Cancun. It will be a pity if we cannot manage to pull it off in what seems to be the final stretch of negotiations," he stated.

Tang touched down in Geneva earlier this week to start his duty visit to Europe. He attended a lunch meeting organised by Hong Kong's new Permanent Representative to the WTO, Martin Glass. Principal guests included member economies' WTO ambassadors and Hong Kong's Special Representative (European Community) in Brussels, Duncan Pescod.

Mr Tang visited Bern for meetings with the Federal Councillor and Federal Minister of Finance Hans-Rudolf Merz, and Swiss National Bank officials.

Geneva was the first stop of Mr Tang's five-day visit to Switzerland and France.

Reporting to the World Trade Organization General Council last week, Director-General Pascal Lamy said that a successful outcome to the Doha Round is still possible, even in the small amount of time remaining until the end of the year.

However, he warned that failure would mean foregoing the very significant trade package already on the table and “breaking the commitment for a more developing-friendly world trading system”.

Lamy told the IMF-World Bank International Monetary and Financial Committee in Washington last month that if the situation in the Doha Round trade negotiations does not change soon “governments will be forced to confront the unpleasant reality of failure”.


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