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Author Topic: WTO future in doubt  (Read 6913 times)
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« on: September 19, 2003, 09:45:59 AM »

WTO future in doubt

Article: WTO future in doubt
Date: Tuesday, September 16th, 2003
Source: www.NationNews.com - Barbados Daily Nation

Link: http://www.nationnews.com/StoryView.cfm?

GENEVA ; "It certainly looks like the end of the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) as we know it," a Geneva-based diplomatic analyst
said yesterday after the collapse of talks in Cancun, Mexico, on a
new international free trade pact.

His comments reflected widespread gloom in the wake of the failure of
what was supposed to be a mid-term review of the Doha round of global
trade negotiations launched in November 2001.

The plan had been to end the Round in just 15 months' time with
agreements on slashing tariffs, allowing service firms like banks and
insurance companies to operate globally, and moving towards removal
of rich countries' farm subsidies.

The World Bank, always enthusiastic about the role of trade in
driving the global economy, had estimated that a good pact would add
US$520 billion to world incomes by 2015, or nearly US$600 for every
man, woman and child.

Economists in major powers had hoped a successful Doha Round would
boost business and consumer confidence at a time of stuttering growth.

In the event, the WTO's 146-member nations were able only to approve
the entry of two new members and tear up the outline map inherited
from Doha. Disputes between rich and poor nations on farm subsidies
were a key factor in the breakdown of the talks.

Officials and commentators in richer countries had no doubt this was
a major setback.

"Long-term, it is bad for world growth. Only if developing countries
grow can they import more from us," said John Llewellyn, global chief
economist at investment bank Lehmann Brothers in London.

European Union trade commissioner Pascal Lamy said the Doha Round
was "in intensive care" after what he called "not only a severe blow
for the WTO but also a lost opportunity for developed and developing
countries alike".

United States trade representative Robert Zoellick said poorer
countries ; which demanded that the United States and the European
Union end all farm subsidies and drop barriers to agricultural
imports ; had rejected good offers. (Reuters)[-End]


Article: WTO breakdown no surprise to Arthur
Date: Tuesday, September 16th, 2003
Source: www.NationNews.com - Barbados Daily Nation

Link: http://www.nationnews.com/StoryView.cfm?

REFERRING to it as "a mess", Prime Minister Owen Arthur said he was
not surprised there was a breakdown between the developed and
developing countries at the World Trade Organisation agricultural
summit in Cancum, Mexico.

Speaking to the Press yesterday, Arthur said the developed countries
had structured the rules of international trade to profit
themselves, "but where it has not served their purposes they want to
hold on to old forms of protectionism".

"I was never sanguine about the possibilities for it because there is
a dangerous divide in today's world.

"The developed world ; Japan, United States and Europe ; has an
agricultural sector that is heavily protected and subsidised. In
Japan, 67 cents out of every dollar in the farming community comes
from state subsidies. Those countries have heavily subsidised
agricultural sectors," he said.

Arthur said he was not surprised many developing countries had strong
agricultural sectors which they could not subsidise, and "are not
agreeable to the lack of action in terms of reduction of subsidies by
the developed world".

The talks among representatives from 146 countries on reform to farm
subsidies broke down Sunday amid differences between rich and poor
nations. Many poor countries accused Europe and super power United
States of trying to bully poor nations into accepting trade rules
they didn't want.[-End]


BRAZIL: Free trade is fine, but ensure level playing field
Date: Wednesday, September 17th, 2003
Source: www.straitstimes.asia1.com.sg - Straits Times of Singapore


RIO DE JANEIRO - President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has expressed
disappointment over the failure of the World Trade Organisation talks
in Cancun, but said the meeting still scored a positive for the
developing world.

At the talks, which ended on Sunday, Brazil led a bloc of nations
that stood up to the United States and Europe over the issue of
agricultural subsidies, which developing nations say unfairly lock
their products out of the world's richest markets.

'The meeting was a deception because we didn't manage to approve what
we wanted, but we also didn't permit the approval of what the
European Union and the United States wanted,' Mr Silva said in an
address to the 37th National Supermarket Congress.

'This is something new in Brazilian foreign policy.'

Going into the trade talks, developing countries like Brazil, China
and India warned there would be no progress unless the question of
agricultural subsidies was addressed.

The talks foundered after the developed nations failed to agree to
remove billions of dollars in export subsidies for farm products.

Mr Silva said he favoured free trade, but demanded a level playing

'We didn't ask for any benefits, privileges or favours, what we are
asking is that we are treated equally,' he said.

'We want the opportunity to compete freely.'

Brazil is one of the world's largest agricultural producers
especially in the areas of soy beans, beef, oranges and coffee.

Mr Silva said Brazil was looking to open up trade opportunities with
countries in Africa and the Middle East and that he hoped to hold a
meeting between South American and Arab countries in May. -- AP[-End]

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