Source: American Farm Bureau Federation

The American Farm Bureau Federation said a new approach is needed in world trade talks, citing the stalled Doha round of negotiations. AFBF President Bob Stallman said his organization will shortly begin discussions with domestic and international business and trade leaders in an effort to find a new way to move forward.

Stallman cited the current system's failure, which requires 153 member-countries to sign off on any deal. "You can keep having ministerials and keep failing, and sooner or later someone has to wake-up," said Stallman. "We need a new structure to move forward."

"What's happening in the World Trade Organization with negotiations, which require all countries to sign off on the agreement, is not working," said Stallman. "You have 153 countries involved in the negotiations and all are not there to improve trade flows. They have other interests and goals."

"We need to remove barriers that are currently hindering trade and further damaging global economic markets," said Stallman. "We can no longer sit by while those who resist opening markets further contribute to the economic slowdown."

"It is imperative during this 'pause' in the WTO talks that we develop a new format that allows like-minded countries that want to move ahead to do so and I think that can be done within the WTO. We're not advocating trying to supplant the WTO because it is a rules-based trading system that exists and that works," said Stallman.

Stallman said that while agriculture, manufacturing and other industries all have different issues and ideas, all parties need to work together to find a way forward. Farm Bureau is seeking that path.

"Trade is an essential component of economic recovery," continued Stallman. "Turning to protectionism or accepting existing barriers is never an answer."

Stallman said he is optimistic the new administration will welcome ideas for a new approach to advance multi-lateral trade negotiations and open markets consistent with the World Trade Organization, especially as world leaders look to hasten global economic recovery.