WTO talks collapse. Sticking point was developing countries’ rights to protect agricultural products from competition

There is a ripple of news items around the world today as the WTO talks in Geneva have ended in failure.  See the NTY article for overview.  The official WTO site http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news08_e/meet08_summary_29july_e.htm is unsurprisingly more upbeat – pointing out the progress on many issues that had been made.  However even there, on the lead item the WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy is quoted as saying.“  It is no use beating around the bush. This meeting has collapsed. Members have not been able to bridge their differences,” The Doha Round is still continuing but for now it seems the dust needs to settle from the high profile differences.

Victoria Henson-Apollonio made the following comments about this issue:

“This is very important for CGIAR stakeholders.  Basically, countries such as India feel that they need to be able to use tariffs to protect their farmers from competition when it threatens their farmer’s livelihoods.  While other countries, such as the U.S. feel that such protection is at odds with the free-trade market approach.  Even with the inducement of taking a politically unpopular step of reducing farm support to American farmers, developing countries are not sure that their farmers could respond to global markets without some way to protect local markets if necessary.  India has taken the lead in what they see as the best way to support their small holder farmers.  As these articles state, the collapse of the WTO talks will mean that more business will be transacted through bi-lateral agreements.  This is going to take strong negotiating skills on both sides.”

2 responses to “WTO talks collapse. Sticking point was developing countries’ rights to protect agricultural products from competition

  1. I just wanted to add a roundup of the WTO events that I just spotted on the guardian.co.uk site. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/wto

  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/opinion/01hanson.html?_r=1&ex=1218254400&en=c07df26da03c37c1&ei=5070&emc=eta1&oref=slogin

    Final comment from me on this page! There was a thoughtful essay written in the NYTimes that Victoria sent me after this post – I have added it here for reference.

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