OECD Wants To Speed Up Steel Subsidies Deal

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said March 29 it wants to speed up talks aimed at reaching a global agreement to cut subsidies to the steel industry and will abandon the discussions if progress is too slow. "We need an agreement by September at the latest. If we have not made any progress by May, we will stop the negotiations," said Wolfgang Huebner, head of the OECD's steel unit. "Our aim is to accelerate and intensify the negotiations at our meetings on March 31-April 5 and May 6-11. If there is sufficient political will, we should wrap up the negotiations at the end of July or start of September," he said. Forty countries are involved in the negotiations, which are aimed at reducing or eliminating all trade-distorting steel subsidies. Franco Mannato, administrator of the OECD steel group, said a deal on steel subsidies would be the first of its kind for the Paris-based OECD. "With these negotiations, we must set limits. We do not want to repeat what happened in the 1980s when discussions on multilateral agreement were never completed," said Mannato.

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