-  Friday 03 July 2020

EU boss livid at India

Europe's trade chief insisted on Tuesday it was time for big developing countries such as Brazil and India to make concessions to unlock global trade talks that are just over a month from a deadline.
A meeting of trade powers in London earlier in March failed to produce a significant advance in the talks and big moves were now needed as the World Trade Organisation's Doha round neared its end, Peter Mandelson said.

"There is a limited number of cards left on the table -- and they are the big ones," Mandelson, European Union trade commissioner, said in a speech at the European Parliament in Brussels.

"They cannot be played in isolation. The lesson of the London meeting is that the time of incremental steps, small moves and small concessions, is over."

WTO members are trying to meet their April 30 deadline for agreement on agriculture and industrial goods, two key components of the so-called Doha round that has been under negotiation for more than four years.

Mandelson has so far resisted calls from agricultural exporting countries such as Brazil and the United States to go further with opening Europe's farm markets.

He is also under pressure from EU members including France to go no further with his offers to cut farm import tariffs.

But Mandelson reiterated he could offer greater access to the EU farm market if Brazil and India agreed to real cuts to their tariffs on imports of industrial goods -- such as cars and chemicals -- of which Europe wants to sell more.

Brazil had given "an important, albeit so far unfulfilled, signal" by showing it recognised the need for everyone to secure real tariff cuts in their key areas of interest, he said.

Brazilian officials said recently the EU and the United States needed to make the next moves required to break the deadlock by going further with their respective agriculture offers.

The WTO's Doha round was launched in 2001 with the aim of boosting the global economy and lifting millions out of poverty. It must be wrapped up in all its details by early next year.

Several deadlines for the round have already been missed. But negotiators say it risks collapse if a deal is not reached soon because U.S. President George W. Bush loses "fast-track" powers to approve trade deals in mid-2007.


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