Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More on the failure of the Doha Round

According to the Irish Times:
TALKS TO agree a global trade deal have collapsed, raising question marks over the future of the multilateral trading system established by the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

A bitter dispute between the US and India over safeguards to protect poor farmers in developing countries prompted the breakdown after nine gruelling days of negotiations......

Diplomats said the failure of negotiators to agree on the basis for a WTO deal in Geneva this week would result in at least a year's delay in the Doha round and could kill it off altogether. No further talks are expected before a US presidential election scheduled for November and analysts have warned that protectionism is taking root in many states.

Peter Sutherland, the Irish chairman of BP and a former director general of the GATT - the forerunner to the WTO - said the failure was bad for the global economy and held serious implications for the WTO institution and the whole concept of multilateralism.

"If states cannot even work together on something as obvious as world trade then how can we effectively address other issues that require a multilateral response such as climate change," said Mr Sutherland, who presided over the last global deal in 1994.

The breakdown in the talks came despite an earlier draft agreement between developed economies such as the EU and US and developing countries over the level of tariff and subsidy cuts in the agriculture and industrial sectors. But a dispute principally between the US and India - which also included Indonesia and China - over a safeguard mechanism to protect farmers in developing states from agricultural imports prompted the collapse.
Comment: The Irish, who should be pretty impatrial, seem to give half the blame to the United States, which I interpret to mean the Bush administration. My sympathy does go out to the poor farmers in India and China, who are often just surviving, and would have a tough time dealing with unrestricted competition in some cases. JAD

No comments: