USTR - What They Are Saying About the Doha Development Agenda Negotiations
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

What They Are Saying About the Doha Development Agenda Negotiations
07/24/2006


Some countries are asserting that the U.S. was the problem:

While some in the European Union are trying desperately to pin the blame for the Doha stalemate on the United States for being "too ambitious," the failure lies with a divided EU that was unable to reach consensus on opening their highly-protected agricultural markets.

The European Union’s negotiating position could be the result of this:

At last week's St. Petersburg summit, Bush and E.U. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso promised to hand their negotiators a stronger bargaining mandate. That gesture belly-flopped shortly after, when French President Jacques Chirac reminded Barroso he has no power to dictate the terms of the WTO talks.

Dow Jones Newswires, July 23, 2006

Some officials within the 13 or 14 agrarian EU member states periodically orchestrated by France to prevent bigger cuts in European farm tariffs have also been privately half-hoping that the talks would fail.

The Financial Times, July 24, 2006

And some developed nations are revealing what actually happened:

"In Japan, where domestic producers of some farm items are heavily protected with high tariffs, representatives of the agricultural industry expressed relief over the suspension of the WTO process. But manufacturers of industrial items were disappointed as they missed chances for boosting their exports to developing countries. A Japanese farm trade negotiator said, "I regret the rupture of the WTO talks but it enabled us to avoid the worst scenario, in which a food importer like Japan is forced to widely open its market. Japan imposes a 778 per cent tariff on rice imports and levies three-digit tariffs on other politically sensitive items, including wheat and dairy products."

BBC Monitoring International Reports translation of Kyodo, July 24, 2006

Commenting on reports that the Doha round of the World Trade talks has collapsed:

"We couldn't support an outcome that did not match our ambitions," Mr Vaile said.

Mark Vaile, Australia's Trade Minister, Australia’s Associated Press, July 24, 2006

"Unless an eleventh hour deal can be reached, this collapse in the Doha talks will be damaging to the cause of freer and fairer international trade, will hurt British consumers and businesses through higher costs and will be a disaster for developing nations. The UK Government must redouble its efforts to ensure Commissioner Mandelson and the EU is willing to make reasonable compromises on the key issue of farm tariffs and subsidies. These talks are simply too important to allow a collapse to be an option."

Statement by Alan Duncan, UK Shadow Secretary, July 24, 2006

 
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