labels: world trade organisation, trade
Brazil signals tough talks to save WTO deal news
19 July 2007

Brussels: Brazil has indicated that tough talks lie ahead to arrive at a consensus on global trade, as the last-ditch compromise proposals put forward by WTO mediators were skewed heavily in favour of the rich nations.

The WTO compromise proposals included detailed cuts to farm subsidies and import tariffs for countries around the world, including a proposed range of $13-16.4 billion for a ceiling on annual US farm subsidies, down from the $17 billion that the US is prepared to concede from the $22 billion at present.

Speaking a day after mediators floated compromises to rescue the floundering Doha Round for agreements on a global trade pact that was due to have been finalised in 2005, Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim criticised the US for saying it would not discuss the kind of cuts to US farm subsidies sought by the poorer countries.

Amorim told reporters in Brussels after meeting EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson in his first comments on the compromise proposals that the proposals were more ambitious on (industrial goods) than on agriculture, referring to the subsidies the US provides its farmers.

"I want a good round, one that really constrains rich countries paying subsidies, with real opening of their markets but which respects our limits in the industrial area," he stated.

The stand taken by Brazil and India has emerged as a rallying point for other developing countries seeking dismantling of the subsidies barriers that rich countries have built, while the EU and the EU want unfettered access to third world markets for their merchandise exports.

The negotiations were launched shortly after the 9 / 11 attacks on the United States to restore confidence in the global economy and to show developing countries that global trade offered them a weapon to combat poverty.

However, the talks have made little headway due to disagreements between the US and the EU and the developing countries on farm subsidies and tariffs with no sign of a consensus.

WTO countries are due to discuss the new negotiating proposals next week in Geneva.

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Brazil signals tough talks to save WTO deal