Pakistan successfully hosted 31st Cairns Ministerial meeting

“There is not much time left therefore we have give a serious effort to conclude this round by end of the year”, said the Commerce Minister of Pakistan Mr. Humayun Akhtar Khan while speaking at the 31st Cairns Group Ministerial meeting which was held in Pakistan from 16-18 April 2007.

Apart from the Cairns group members the DG WTO Mr. Pascal Lamy and representatives from US, EC and Japan participated as special guests. The meeting was one of the best events in the history of Cairns Ministerial, termed as such by the coordinator and most of the members of the group.

The meeting was held at a crucial time when the DDA negotiations are in the final round and all members are looking for some substantive move in order to conclude the round by the end of 2007. The Ministers reiterated importance of conclusion of this round and highlighted the huge costs of failure in case there is no convergence achieved. Ministers agreed upon the Lahore Agenda and the Communiqué for 31st Cairns Ministerial meeting.

The Ministers noted in the communiqué that “Action is needed now to avoid putting the Round at grave risk of drifting indefinitely, or even failing.  Nevertheless, a successful conclusion is within our reach, particularly if substantial progress can be made in the weeks ahead.  The Membership needs to find the breakthroughs that will allow the conclusion of the negotiations by the end of this year”

The Director General WTO Mr. Pascal Lamy stressed the membership on building convergence at least on main issues by the summer break 2007 so that the chances of saving this round could be kept alive.

(Home page of the 31st Cairns Group's Ministerial Meeting, Lahore, Pakistan)