View Full Version : Doha World Trade Talks Collapse in Blow to Globalisation

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008, 10:00 PM
Surely a major failure of internationalists everywhere ; just when they thought they were organizing the world order .... there is now the increasing prospect of trade and industrial protectionism - and perhaps less chance to rig the system in favour of the third world.......:rolleyes:

Doha world trade talks collapse in blow to globalisation

Telegraph 29/07/2008

The Doha round of world trade talks has collapsed in what one former trade chief called the biggest blow to globalisation since the end of the Cold War.

An emergency World Trade Organisation summit aimed at resuscitating the seven-year long talks broke down in acrimony last night.

Negotiators warned that there was now little or no chance of salvaging the talks, which promised to bring down trade tariffs, pull millions out of poverty and keep food and goods prices under control.

It is the first time a major set of world trade talks has collapsed entirely, and insiders warned that the consequences would be comparatively weaker economic growth and a less globalised world in the coming years.

Although the talks broke down at a summit in Cancun five years ago and were later revived, officials warned that there was now “little or no appetite” to return to the round.

Insiders said the talks had stumbled after the United States, China and India failed to compromise on the size of their agricultural tariffs.

After nine days of emergency talks in Geneva, WTO chief Pascal Lamy broke the news to ministers from the seven biggest trading blocs that the talks had failed.

At the centre of the dispute were so-called “safeguard clauses” which allowed developing nations to slap emergency tariffs on imports if they suddenly jumped to unmanageable levels.

US negotiators apparently balked at Indian and Chinese proposals to trigger these safeguards on their cotton exports.

European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson (!)d: “We have missed the chance to seal the first global pact of a reshaped world order. We would all have been winners from a Doha deal. Without one, we all lose............""

Peter Sutherland, the chairman of BP, who as director general of the WTO’s predecessor, GATT, helped bring the previous trade talks - the Uruguay round - back from the brink, said the collapse was “a disaster.”

“This is deeply disturbing,” he said. “Years of negotiation which were and are important for globalisation have been sacrificed by this failure. And there would appear to be no short-term fix.”

“This is undoubtedly the biggest blow to globalisation since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is a deliberate and serious blow to multilateralism, and has raised further the spectre of protectionism, which is always evident at a time of weak economic growth and recession.”

Negotiators will now discuss whether any of the progress made in the seven years of discussions can be salvaged.

[I]However, with the Presidential election in the US next year and a change of European commissioners later this year, the consensus is that there will be no meaningful opportunity to discuss trade until at least after 2009.


Just how significant do you think outcome is..............:rolleyes:

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008, 11:04 PM
I find it, if not increadible, then at least disgusting the way virtually everyone (here in Sweden at least) seems eager to sell out our own farmers and our own food production industry by having away with tariffs and allowing imports from countries that can produce food dirt cheap to flood our markets, which would spell the virtual end to European farming and food production. Socialists and liberals unite under the same banner on this issue, socialists and their concern for the third world and complete disregard and contempt for their own, and the liberals and their free trade insanity. It is an unholy alliance.

Thursday, July 31st, 2008, 06:24 PM
It seems like an important divide in the world! --- or at least , in theory! I recall Blair promising the earth , with assorted pop stars, to 'needful' Africa.... but it didnt really happen.

Sarkozy has been "awkward" about his own patch and others are also pushing their own concerns more overtly. Perhaps the world has cottoned on to what really matters ! I dont know. But I am not somehow too keen to sign up to Mandelsohn and his internationalist works..........

We'll pay a high price for free-trade failure

By Peter Mandelson

Telegraph 31/07/2008

At midnight on Tuesday, my team at the World Trade Organisation negotiations in Switzerland took a long walk along Lake Geneva. It was possible to enjoy the quiet and the cool presence of the water, but only just..........

Three hours earlier, after nine days of 18-hours-a-day negotiations, Pascal Lamy, the WTO's director general, had emerged from the meeting room to tell journalists that the gathering of trade ministers would end without compromise.

After seven years - and now faced with a long US electoral season - the Doha round of talks, intended to introduce a new era of freer trade, with fewer barriers between countries, now faces a very uncertain future.......

The frustration felt by our European Union team at this failure was deepened by the fact that agreement had been reached on almost all of the outstanding questions on the table.

Discussion had resolved the key issue of how deeply to cut tariffs - taxes on imports to "protect" domestic industries from foreign competition - on agricultural products and industrial goods for both developed and developing countries.

There was much more progress made in Geneva than its critics believed the Doha round would ever manage.

No one should be in any doubt: this week's failure has a price in lost opportunities.

A successful outcome alone was never going to fix the credit crunch or solve the food crisis, but a new trade deal would have injected some confidence into the global economy at a time of great uncertainty.

Consider the following. The package on the table in Geneva would have all but eliminated the remaining tariffs in the transatlantic marketplace, and cut tariffs among the OECD economies more than twice as much as the previous round of WTO talks.

Although the large emerging economies had been given considerable flexibility in the way they implemented these tariff cuts, we had nevertheless driven a bargain that would see new footholds in all these growing markets.

The average tariff in the emerging economies would have fallen to 7 per cent for the first time. Further, the changes would have been "bound" into WTO rules, so that tariffs throughout the global economy would be guaranteed at current levels.

This would have locked in the huge amount of economic liberalisation that has taken place across the world over the last 10 years, acting like an insurance policy against future protectionism: a tariff locked in the WTO can never go up.

The deal on the table in Geneva would have reformed farm subsidies in the US and Europe so that they no longer squeezed farmers in the developing world. It would have ended the 16-year "banana wars" between Latin America and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. (??)

It is little wonder that the exasperation of most developing countries, as these gains slipped through negotiators' fingers, was palpable.

In working out what went wrong in Geneva, we need to be clear about a number of things. One is that, for the first time in a multilateral trade round, and despite the caricature, Europe's position was not characterised by defensiveness about farming.

Reform in 2003 of the Common Agricultural Policy allowed the EU to offer to cut its average farm tariff by 60 per cent, and to slash its trade-distorting subsidies by 80 per cent.

This would have been the biggest package of farm trade liberalisation in history.

Nor did the Geneva talks fail because of a general stand-off between the developed and developing worlds, as happened in Cancun in 2003.

Rather, the negotiations faltered in a disagreement on a specific issue over farm trade that divided large agricultural exporters and developing countries with large populations of poor farmers, such as India and China.

Developed and developing countries alike worked hard to reconcile the extremes and save the deal.

The issue was a "safeguard clause" that would have governed how fast commodity exports from big exporters could rise from year to year.

One side insisted they would not accept any formula that did not let them protect small farmers - especially from subsidised exports from the United States.

The US complained that the measure effectively meant new restrictions on US exports of soy and cotton.

There is something to both arguments, and important principles involved.

But what seemed to get lost in Geneva was the fact that a principled argument does not have to mean an argument on which no compromise is possible.

Technical experts in Geneva spent hours hammering out a compromise that would have met the concerns of both sides.

Neither side felt able to pick it up. That is what makes failure - when we were so close to success - much more difficult to explain.

The WTO and a system of global trade rules is the only way that we will resolve questions of commerce and equity, trade and development in the global economy.

As China, India and Brazil step into their new roles as global economic powers they can and must be at the table.

Before this failure, Doha was shaping up to be the first global pact of the new order, binding the big emerging powers into a system in which they felt like custodians, not outsiders.

China in particular emerged as an impressive player, willing to be constructive when the crunch came.

Without a deal these questions stay unresolved...........

The challenge of keeping Doha's trade and development agenda alive will take political commitment.

The technical nature of the negotiations has all too often hidden the fact that they are about real real lives and real lost chances in the developed and developing worlds.

The fall-out from this collapse will not be clear for some time.

But we can be sure of one thing: we would all have been winners from a Doha deal. Without one, we all lose.

Peter Mandelson is the EU commissioner for trade

---- we shall see what America makes of it all in due course....., I cant imagine China or India fussing over things in the same way as certain people in the West!!