Differences set to derail Doha deal, says WTO

Differences set to derail Doha deal, says WTO

Says members must aim at building bridges

Differences set to derail Doha deal, says WTO

 Lamy’s statement came as WTO published hundreds of pages of legal texts outlining the state of play in the Doha round of world trade talks that began a decade ago. Doha is now at “serious risk of failure,” Lamy said, repeating a warning he has given many times in recent months.

Lamy said the documents “will leave no one in any doubt about the value of what is on the table” — a reference to the belief liberalising trade can promote economic growth for all countries. Members should “use the coming weeks to talk to each other and build bridges,” he said.

But he warned: “I believe we are confronted with a clear political gap which, as things stand .... is not bridgeable today.”

As expected, the continuing and widely flagged stalemate centres on differences over tariffs on industrial goods — a key part of non-agricultural goods or “NAMA” section of discussions, whose aim is to nurture trade by reducing tariffs, subsidies, quotas and other barriers to it.

Some countries, among them the US, want to see much bigger concessions on industrial tariffs by developing countries like China, Brazil and India than they are willing to concede, arguing in many areas they no longer need special treatment. The US is on the other side of the debate in agriculture, where others believe the world's largest importer of goods should do more to open its large market for farm produce. Washington has been defending its position in recent weeks.

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