Jul 9, 2008

WTO: Mandelson Won't Be Bullied!!

An interesting array of UK papers are reporting strong resolve on the part of the EU Trade Commissioner in the run up to next week's EU meeting on the WTO Round.

Over the past week, the European Trade Commissioner has been engaged in a war of words with the French President over World Trade Organisation negotiations.
Mr Sarkozy has attacked Mr Mandelson and the Commission over plans to free-up global markets and to cut EU farm subsidies as part of new WTO deal aimed at benefiting poorer, developing countries.
The former Northern Ireland secretary, who became European commissioner responsible for the WTO talks in 2004, will be briefing EU trade ministers on progress at a meeting in Brussels next Friday.

"I'm not going to be bullied," he said.
Mr Mandelson has acknowledged that the French leader is under "domestic political pressures" to protect agriculture and business but argued that France and other EU countries should support liberalised and competitive international markets.
"President Sarkozy, like all European heads of government, will recognise that we want the world to enter a new era of freer trade, of fewer barriers between countries," he said.
Britain will be a key ally when the trade commissioner uses next week's meeting to rally the EU behind a negotiating mandate ahead of make or break WTO talks later this month.
Mr Mandelson will lead the EU delegation and he has expressed concern that as the world economy falters some leaders, such as Mr Sarkozy, are drawn to protectionism.
"You could say what better time to give the global economy a much-needed boost than making this breakthrough in the world trade round," he said.
"But I am afraid it doesn't make it easier because there are governments and politicians who instead of exercising global leadership are turning instead inwards."