Trade talks among the World Trade Organisation''s four most powerful members
the US, EU, India and Brazil ended in failure for lack of an agreement
on farm subsidy cuts, Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim said.
was useless to continue the discussions based on the numbers that were on the
table," Amorim said at a news conference.
talks had been described as crucial in the WTO''s drive to complete a new global
trade pact by the end of the year. "It is a setback, let us not hide it,"
commerce minister Kamal Nath, blamed US unwillingness to cut its farm subsidies
for the collapse of the talks.
issue of farm tariffs is politically charged in a number of European countries,
particularly France. Critics of the subsidies say they unfairly deflate international
prices, making it impossible for poorer nations to develop their economies by
selling their agricultural produce abroad.
said that the EU showed flexibility on the sensitive topic of farm tariffs, but
that India held firm in defending its agricultural sector from foreign competition.
The EU denied that it had shifted its position in the talks.
and India also presented positions on easing access to their industrial markets
that were still far away from US and EU demands, according to officials present
in the meetings.
has demanded that Brussels and major developing countries provide greater market
access for American farm exports in exchange for the subsidy cuts.
sources pointed out that while the US indicated it was willing to limit its farm
subsidies to $17 billion, the G-4 insisted on a figure somewhere below $15 billion.
current round of global talks aims to add billions of dollars to the world economy
and lift millions of people out of poverty through new trade flows. But negotiations
have struggled since their inception six years ago, largely because of wrangling
between rich and poor countries over eliminating barriers to agricultural trade.
four members did not have a mandate to negotiate on behalf of
the all of the WTO''s 150 members, but as their positions cover the range of positions
in the Geneva-based commerce body, agreement by them on some of the outstanding
farm trade and manufacturing questions was seen as a key test of whether an overall
trade deal could be reached.