With a critical meeting of 148 trade ministers in Hong Kong less than two months away, three of Washington, D.C.'s most powerful business lobbying groups have joined an effort to get Doha Round of world trade talks moving again. The Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States are part of the newly formed American Business Coalition for Doha.
"The primary goal of the business community is to support actions that will help grow the economy, and that's what the Doha Round is all about," says John J. Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of major U.S. companies. "By joining this effort, the NAM will amplify the voice of U.S. manufacturers calling for significant gains in real market access," says John Engler, the association's president. "We join forces with like-minded allies with a simple message -- the Doha Round cannot be allowed to fail," says Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber.
Launched in the city of Doha, Qatar, in November 2001, the most recent round of multilateral trade talks has been marked by delays and dramatic disagreements over agricultural and so-called North-South (developed country/developing country) issues. The original goal was to complete negotiations by January 1 of this year; the round is now not expected to be completed before yearend 2006.