Disappointment at failure of WTO talks

30-07-2008 | |

International negotiators of 153 countries involved have not managed to reach an agreement in the current round of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks, held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Discussions were suspended yesterday evening as it became clear that these discussions in the Doha round, already started back in 2001 and aimed at liberalising global trade, would fail. Ministers had struggled for more than a week to reach a consensus on a trade pact.
Countries involved were not able to bridge the gaps to create a more open and free world trade.
Agricultural affairs were at the heart of the discussions. Especially emerging markets like India, Brazil and China were hoping the US and the EU would lower their subsidies for own agriculture production and lower tariff walls – offering new opportunities and challenges.
Import rules
The negotiations failed because the US could not agree with the emerging bigger Asian countries on farm import rules, the BBC reported. These would allow countries to protect poor farmers by imposing a tariff on certain goods in the event of a drop in prices or a surge in imports.
India, China and the US could not agree on the tariff threshold for such an event.
Washington said that the ‘safeguard clause’ protecting developing nations from unrestricted imports had been set too low.
Countries like Paraguay and Uruguay said that the proposals on the table would allow some major developing economies to close off their markets to other developing world agricultural exporters, like them – interrupting normal trade flows.
China said the collapse of the talks was a serious setback for the world economy, while the EU described it as ‘heartbreaking’.
The WTO chief, Pascal Lamy, said he would not abandon his efforts to find an agreement.
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