Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Trade powers struggle to save WTO round

GENEVA: The United States, the European Union and emerging economic heavyweights will try again on Tuesday to line up the long-elusive trade-offs needed to save a deal to dismantle export barriers around the world.
The United States resisted calls on Monday to announce a cut in its ceiling for farm subsidies as a critical week of talks opened, saying it was ready to act as long as others do likewise, especially developing economies like Brazil and China.
The World Trade Organisation's Doha round of negotiations risks years of further delay without a breakthrough this week.
But some top trade officials doubted that would be possible, given the range of issues to be resolved and the fundamental differences that still separate rich and poor countries.
"I have to say that after today's meeting I am less optimistic than before," said Egyptian Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid after WTO chief Pascal Lamy summoned more than 30 ministers to spell out what they can do to secure a deal.


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