Commission says WTO talks unlikely to be resumed in near future

A meeting of trade ministers on September 9-10 in Brazil has little hope of reviving collapsed global trade talks, according to the Commission’s Trade spokesman Peter Power.

The meeting was called by Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim and will bring together ministers from the G20 group of developing countries and other “selected ministers” in order to take stock of the situation after talks to conclude a deal on global trade liberalisation were formally suspended in July 2006. 

Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and US Trade Representative Susan Schwab are due to attend the meeting in Rio de Janeiro. 

But Mandelson’s spokesman Peter Power, on 30 August 2006, quelled all assumptions that negotiations could be picked up during the summit, saying: “It will be a meeting for trade ministers to come together and talk to each other about where they see the process now. I don’t think anybody seriously expects real negotiations to resume in the immediate.” 

However, Power added: “The European Commission is absolutely determined not to leave the talks in suspension for long.” 

Earlier in August, Mandelson snubbed a similar invitation from Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile for a ‘revival’ meeting in Cairns on 20-22 September, saying: “We hear from the Australian Government a lot of bashing of Europe… Until we see … some sort of flexibility, we’re really going to be no further forward.” 

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