An upcoming informal World Trade Organization ministerial talk in Montreal is important for the success of a full ministerial meeting to be held in Cancun, Mexico, in September, trade minister Takeo Hiranuma said Friday.

“There are only about 40 days ahead of the Cancun meeting, and we consider the meeting in Montreal very important for the success of the Cancun meeting,” Hiranuma said at a news conference after a Cabinet meeting.

Before the Cabinet assembled, Hiranuma said he and Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshiyuki Kamei and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda met and confirmed Japan’s basic policy for the three-day WTO Montreal talks, which start Monday.

Hiranuma, minister of economy, trade and industry, said Japan will make efforts so that full negotiations for the “Singapore issues” will be launched at the Sept. 10-14 Cancun meeting.

Tokyo has sought to promote negotiations on those issues, which are trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement, investment rules and competition policy.

According to Hiranuma, farm-trade liberalization, market access to nonfarm products and the matter of developing nations are also expected to be taken up in Montreal.

WTO member economies launched the current round in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001 with an agreement to conclude it by Jan. 1, 2005.

But talks have bogged down as some key deadlines for establishing a framework on negotiations were missed with a wide gap remaining between various groups of nations.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.