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Mauritius calls for emergency WTO meeting

Mauritius last week became the first nation worldwide to make a formal request for an emergency meeting of the World Trade Organization that will discuss 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, is also endorsing a WTO meeting, although their signatures were missing from the document.

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

"This is a major development in the effort to define a solution to the pending crisis in our sector," said Auggie Tantillo, executive director of AMTAC. "It is critical we gather as much support for the Mauritian letter as possible. In order to take 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. These briefings will be designed to establish a foothold in Geneva among government missions."

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