United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the worldâ€™s wealthy countries on Monday to â€œgo the extra mileâ€ to re-balance the rules of the trading system in favor of the poor.
â€œSetbacks in the Doha talks have led some to consider settling for something less than a true development round, or for no round at all. That must not happen,â€ Mr. Annan said in a statement to the World Trade Organization.
Annan went on to say that opening up global trade is essential in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, which aim to remove a list of problems facing poverty riddled countries today, such as extreme hunger and poverty, high infant and maternal mortality and lack of access to education and health care. This all should be met in the next nine years, he said.
The Doha Round has been at a standstill since July this year. Among the points of contention are subsidies and tariffs that wealthy countries place on their agricultural industry and other measures that limit access to such markets by poorer nations. Annan has issued several appeals for the re-opening of trade talks, the most recent one was made at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Havana earlier this month.