Wednesday, 30 July 2008

WTO talks collapse over farm trade

GENEVA: After seven years of on-again, off-again negotiations, world trade talks collapsed in rancor on Tuesday, ending hopes of a deal to free up global markets, cut farm subsidies and shore up the international trading system. Discussions here reached an impasse after nine straight days of high-level talks when the United States, India and China failed to compromise over measures to protect farmers in poor countries. Despite exhaustive efforts, Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organization, failed to bridge differences between a group of newly-confident developing nations and established Western economic powers. In the end too few of the real power-brokers proved committed enough to make compromises necessary to deliver a deal. "It is a massive blow to confidence in the global economy," said Peter Power, spokesman for the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union based in Brussels. "The confidence shot in the arm that we needed badly will not now happen."

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