Marathon talks fail to bring WTO breakthrough

Negotiators from the world’s leading trading powers have again failed to unblock talks on liberalising global trade, leading to claims that the five year long Doha Round could be suspended.

Negotiators from the so-called G6 – Brazil, India, Japan, the EU and the US – met on 23 July 2006 to continue talks about cutting farm subsidies and reducing tariffs on agricultural and industrial goods. But, after a marathon of 14 hours of negotiations under the auspices of WTO chief Pascal Lamy, no progress had been achieved. 

EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said “There was no movement at all on domestic support. We will meet again tomorrow (Monday) to see if things have changed overnight, whether new ideas have popped up”. 

However, according to Reuters, Mr. Lamy told G6 ministers that, without a quick end to the deadlock, he would halt the Doha Development Agenda, which was launched in 2001 with the aim to boost economic growth and contribute to development. 

The meeting came a week after the G8 meeting in St-Petersburg, where leaders of the world’s biggest economies pledged to give their trade negotiators more flexibility with a view to reaching a compromise deal. 

Mr. Lamy had also set a further two days of talks for July 28 and 29, but diplomats say that if no progress is made this weekend there could be little point in a further meeting. 

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