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Mauritius calls for emergency WTO meeting

WASHINGTON — Mauritius became the first nation to make a formal request yesterday for an emergency meeting of the World Trade Organization to address the impact of the elimination of quotas on Jan. 1.

The country's minister of foreign affairs, international trade and regional cooperation, Jaya Krishna Cuttaree, formalized the plea in a letter to WTO director-general Supachai Panitchpakdi. A paragraph in the letter stated that a group of 71 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, known as ACP, are also endorsing a WTO meeting, although their signatures were missing from the letter.

Mauritius' request is the first step in the process of getting the WTO to provide a forum to discuss the expected onslaught of imports from China and India in particular when quotas are lifted. The American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) is hopeful that the WTO will call an emergency meeting in September.

"It is critical that we gather as much support for the Mauritian letter as possible," said Auggie Tantillo, executive director of AMTAC. "In order to take full advantage of this significant progress, we will be traveling to Geneva to hold briefings on July 26 and 27 during the WTO Trade Council meetings next week. These briefings will be designed to establish a foothold in Geneva among government missions."

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