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Monday, July 24, 2006

Doha Talks Break Down

The Doha round talks collapse once again:

Doha Round Talks Break Down On Farm Support, Trade Barriers, WSJ: Global commerce talks at the World Trade Organization collapsed Monday as top powers failed to agree on steps toward liberalizing trade in farm and manufactured goods.

Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath said the talks had been suspended and added that "it could take anywhere from months to years," to restart the negotiations. "This is a serious setback, a major setback," said Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim. ...

Bloomberg reports:

WTO Six-Way Talks Collapse, Jeopardizing Global Pact, Bloomberg: Talks among six key World Trade Organization governments collapsed, imperiling efforts to reach a global market-opening agreement worth billions of dollars.

Ministers from the U.S., the European Union, Brazil, India, Australia and Japan remained deadlocked, prompting WTO Director- General Pascal Lamy to suspend the five-year-old talks... Agriculture subsidies and tariffs have been the main obstacles to reaching a WTO deal. ...

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said the U.S. is responsible for the failure of the six-way talks. After last week's meeting of leaders from the Group of Eight industrialized nations, each government ``except for the U.S.'' indicated that it would be more accommodating in yesterday's meeting, he said.

``The U.S. was unwilling to accept or even acknowledge the flexibility of others shown in the room,'' Mandelson told a news conference. ``This action has led to the round being suspended.''

The U.S. was the sole government among the six not to improve its offer, Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said.

``It's very clear that the EU made a movement, and everybody put something on the table except for one country, who said we can't see anything on the table,'' he told reporters.

`Loopholes'

The U.S. didn't sweeten its offer to scale back spending on its farmers because trade partners were more concerned with protecting sensitive commodities such as beef with exemptions from tariff cuts, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said. Such ``loopholes'' may exclude up to 98 percent of commodities from the cuts, he said, so a new U.S. offer was impossible. ``We didn't see it,'' Johanns told a news conference. ``There was just nothing there that allowed us to make that step.''

The G-8 leaders asked Lamy to find a way to break the stalemate by mid-August and told their trade chiefs to push for an accord. ... The Doha Round ''is not dead, but it's definitely between intensive care and the crematorium,'' Nath said. ...

    Posted by on Monday, July 24, 2006 at 07:00 AM in Economics, International Trade, Policy | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (16)

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