Lamy Tells Envoys 'Go Like Hell'

GENEVA -- Trade envoys were told Friday to "go like hell" to clinch a deal on industrial goods this week, and diplomats said the day of reckoning in the World Trade Organization's long-running Doha round was fast approaching.

Ministers said Thursday in Paris that they wanted to reach an outline Doha deal in late June or early July and ordered senior officials to work intensively this week and next on the deadlocked talks in industrial goods.

Negotiators would have to decide then whether the talks on cutting tariffs on goods from automobiles to clothing, and special treatment for developing countries to shield infant industries, were going anywhere or not, he said.

The United States is hosting the make-or-break industry talks with Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan and South Africa. But Argentina, which rejects the current proposals on industrial goods, is not part of these "G12" talks, nor are other major industrial players like South Korea.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy told negotiators from around 30 representative countries on Friday that he was not yet able to invite ministers to Geneva to make the broad political decisions on a deal, given the state of the industry talks. Further work was also needed in parallel talks on agriculture.

"Lamy said 'go like hell' next week to get this thing done," said one participant in the meeting.