Former World Trade Organization chief Mike Moore of New Zealand said Tuesday he was heartbroken by the deadlock in talks on a global pact and urged ambition on a narrower trans-Pacific trade deal.
Moore, a former prime minister who is now New Zealand's ambassador to the United States, called the deep deadlock in the Doha round of WTO talks "one of the great follies of human history."
"For me in particular, I think it is one of the most heartbroken things in the last decade," Moore told a forum at the US Chamber of Commerce.
Moore was director-general of the WTO in 2001 when it launched the Doha round named after Qatar's capital that aimed to reach a global agreement on slashing tariffs and other barriers to free trade.
The talks have languished for years and Pascal Lamy, the current WTO chief, said last week that the round was on the brink of failure due to dispute on tariffs on industrial products.
The nine countries are a subset of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which has often talked about creating a free trade zone across the vast region.
"Let's achieve here what we failed to achieve at APEC and elsewhere," Moore said.
"We are determined. The definition of that is at the highest possible levels -- no exclusions," he said.
But the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks has also raised controversy. Some lawmakers from US farm states want to exclude dairy due to fears of New Zealand, the world's largest dairy exporter.
An APEC summit in Japan last year set a goal for sealing the Trans-Pacific Partnership by the next gathering of leaders in November in Hawaii.
Trade ministers from APEC are due to meet later this month at the Big Sky ski resort in the western US state of Montana.
Source: AFP Asian Edition