A meeting of world trade ministers to hammer out a new global pact is in jeopardy unless Europe offers big cuts to its farm tariffs, the United States warned on Monday, and the EU itself admitted talks were on a 'knife-edge.'
Trade officials have warned that global trade talks are close to breaking point, leaving the European Union with ten days to either resolve a bitter internal rift or convince partners in the WTO to tame their demands on farm import barriers.
As developing country negotiators in Geneva are offered what appears to be an attractive US offer to cut its agricultural subsidies by 60 per cent in order to pave the way to a new WTO Agreement in Agriculture, they might look at what is happening in Canada to understand why it is most unwise to enter into yet another trade agreement involving the United States.
By Tetteh Hormeku (TWN Africa), TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Oct05 )
Representatives of the West African cotton-producing countries have demanded a concrete resolution of the cotton problem at the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, as well as a clear indication now that this will be the case, if they are to have any stake in outcomes of the Conference.
Trade ministers in two informal trade sessions yesterday and Wednesday put the European Union on notice that it must come up with a substantially revised market access offer on agricultural trade in the ongoing Doha Development Agenda by next Thursday or take the blame for the collapse of the four-year-old talks
The new Norwegian coalition government (Social democrats, socialist left party and the centre/farmers party) which is backed by a majority in Parliament, has released its declaration for their coming four years in office. The declaration offers at least a rhetorical change around WTO issues.
By Martin Khor, TWN Info Sertvice on WTO and Trade Issues (Oct05)
The WTO preparations for the Hong Kong Ministerial conference suffered a serious setback Wednesday night when a key meeting on agriculture involving Ministers of five major countries - the US, EU, Brazil, India and Australia - ended abruptly after failing to make any progress. The session scheduled for Thursday was cancelled.