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Trade blow for international summit

The future of the WTO (World Trade Organization)'s troubled Doha Round remains in doubt after high-level talks collapsed in Geneva. Discussions on liberalising international trade stalled when China, India and the US failed to agree on the level of farm import tariffs that could be imposed by developing countries. The WTO had proposed a "Special Safeguard Mechanism" to protect producers in poorer countries against unrestricted imports, but US negotiators said the level had been set too low.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson described the impasse as a "collective failure", while China blamed the unwillingness of the US and EU to scrap their own farm subsidies. Political deadlock has dogged the Doha Development Agenda, known as the Doha Round, since negotiations began in 2001. Despite the latest setback, WTO Director-General Pascal Lemy remains hopeful that an agreement will be reached if talks resume in September.

Date published: July 2008


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