Disappointment at failure of WTO talks
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 United States and
the EU would lower their subsidies for own agriculture production and lower
tariff walls – offering however new opportunities and
The negotiations failed because the
United States could not agree with the emerging bigger Asian countries on farm
import rules, the BBC reported yesterday. 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
They mentioned Korean growth for imports
of fresh bovine meat (73%), while Indian soybean oil imports are growing at 168%
per year. These 'normal' trade flows would easily fit the criteria for a return
to high tariffs. 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.
Related news item:
WTO talks aiming for agricultural solutions
World Trade Organization (WTO)
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