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WTO talks collapse amid farm stand-off

Talks on a new wave of trade liberalization collapsed on Tuesday after nine days of fruitless negotiations.

“We were so close to getting this done,” US Trade Representative Susan Schwab told reporters at World Trade Organization headquarters after countries failed to compromise over measure to protect farmers in poor countries. “The US remains committed to the Doha round. This is not a time to talk about a round collapsing,” said Schwab, who looked frustrated and distressed. “The US commitments remain on the table, awaiting reciprocal responses.” As failure looked likely, New Zealand’s trade minister, Phil Goff, held out hope for Doha talks continuing at a later date. However failure of the talks to find a broad agreement on the Doha trade round, could delay any global agreement on trade liberalization for several more years, experts say.

The negotiations for a global deal trade began in 2001. They have lurched from crisis to crisis and risk further years of delay . Washington had opposed a push from India, China and Indonesia to secure measures to protect their farmers if faced with sudden surges of cheap farm imports.

Earlier, European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson urged parties to seek compromise. “If people don’t want this deal, there’s no better deal coming along and we just have to consider, if this fails, what they will lose,” he said. (Gulf News)