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Trade Facilitation Flop May Spell Doom For Loftier WTO Talks

August 1, 2014, Law360

John Veroneau is quoted in this article regarding the news that WTO members have failed to convince a group of developing countries led by India to budge from their demands that enactment of a trade facilitation agreement over agricultural subsidies run in parallel with efforts to shield their domestic food security programs from legal challenges:

“The fact that such Herculean efforts are required after more than a decade to yield low-hanging fruit ... does not bode well for the value that WTO members as a whole put into multilateral trade-liberalizing efforts right now,” Covington & Burling LLP partner and former deputy U.S. trade representative John Veroneau told Law360. “It's certainly not a good day for the WTO.” After more than a decade yielded no progress on Doha as a complete negotiating package, the WTO members set aside what were thought to be controversial provisions at Bali to produce a relatively modest set of trade measures, making the recent failure all the more humbling, according to Veronaeu. “It's like clowns not being able to agree that red noses are funny,” he said.

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