Down to 7 at the WTO
Today's "7" refers to the number of countries now left in WTO Director General Pascal Lamy's Green Room: U.S., EU, India, Brazil, Japan, Australia and China. Some see this as a sign of crisis. But as they were rushing out through the WTO lobby at 11pm tonight, ministers made it clear that they would keep working throughout the night.
On the substance of the discussions, no one is talking. For sure these seven countries have now engaged in serious bargaining. Whether they can agree is one question. The other question is whether an agreement reached among these seven will make its way to the broader membership. Although some countries were unhappy at being left out, the initial green room of 30 was by and large accepted as being representative. This group of seven is exclusive. It has no legitimacy to represent all 152 members. It is disappointing to see this step backward in the negotiating process at the WTO.
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