Many reporters, being misled by top WTO officials, have taken to announcing a June 30th deadline for the completion of Doha negotiations to make it under the Fast Track wire.
They're just plan wrong. In fact, the deadline has already passed. In order for the President to sign any trade deal he must give Congress 90 days notice.
So... June 30th - 90 days = March 31, 2007 or, in layman's terms - last week.
The issue is wildly misreported. Just a few of the hundreds (and maybe thousands) of examples:
- In Reuters: "US President George W Bush has “fast-track” power to negotiate a trade deal only until June 30 but the talks have been mired in disagreement, mostly over farm subsidies and tariffs, and were even suspended for six months last year."
- In the Washington Times: "The round of trade talks is facing a tight deadline because President Bush's trade promotion authority, which allows him to submit trade deals to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendment, is set to expire June 30. The administration says it needs the authority to be able to successfully complete the talks and reach bilateral trade deals."
- In The Sydney Morning Herald: "Global trade talks must gather speed to grab the 'window of opportunity' that closes by end of June, World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lamy says." (Pascal Lamy= Director General of the WTO, and he doesn't know the real deadline?)
The fact is, the Fast Track clock has run out, and Doha cannot be negotiated under Fast Track.