Jul 30, 2008

WTO Talks Collapse

In what is a major setback for our national interests the WTO Ministerial in Geneva has collapsed. Differences between India and China on one hand and the US and EU on the other were too great. This is not necessarily the end of the WTO or the WTO Round, but it will mean a further substantial delay.

This from the IHT

A high-level summit meeting to salvage a global trade pact collapsed Tuesday after the United States, China and India failed to compromise on farm import rules, according to trade officials.
Trade diplomats, who were not authorized to speak publicly, said that the meeting of seven commercial powers collapsed here at the World Trade Organization's headquarters.
Officials, two from advanced economies and one from a developing nation, told The Associated Press that a U.S. dispute with China and India over farm import safeguards had effectively ended any hope of a breakthrough. The comments were confirmed by a European official, who was also not authorized to comment publicly.
They said that the WTO chief, Pascal Lamy, had informed ministers that an agreement could not be reached after more than a week of talks.
There was no immediate word on whether the participants would seek to meet again in 2008 to try to salvage the talks.

Trade officials from 153 countries had been talking in Geneva for nine consecutive days.
Before the collapse, ministers had warned that failure would shake confidence in the global economy just as a number of economies enter a slowdown.
The breakdown will deal a significant setback to the credibility of the WTO, which polices the international trading system.
"If people don't want this deal," the European trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, said before the breakdown, "there's no better deal coming along and we just have to consider, if this fails, what they will lose."