US ready for Doha 'end game,' seek more from developing nations

US ready for Doha 'end game,' seek more from developing nations

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But Brazil and India, key voices of emerging nations, said it was unreasonable for developed economies to extract further concessions from developing countries that needed to protect their small farmers.

The differences between the industrialised and developing nations were apparent as ministers from the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 153 member states met for the first time in four years to discuss global commerce prospects and concerns in Geneva.

WTO chief Pascal Lamy warned in his opening remarks that "time is running out" for the conclusion of the long delayed Doha round of global trade negotiations that began in the Qatari capital in 2001.
World leaders have pledged to conclude the Doha Round by 2010, but little progress has been made and deadlines have been repeatedly missed because of disagreements between developed and developing economies over the level of cuts to agriculture subsidies and industrial product tariffs.

But the United States, seen as critical to ending the stalemate, assured the Geneva meeting that "it is ready to move into the endgame" of the negotiations if developing nations conceded more market opening measures.
"We have made our specific interests well known: that meaningful market opening is required to complete the round and we are looking for concrete signs from other members that they are ready to join us in that commitment," US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said.

Citing figures from the International Monetary Fund, he said 58 per cent of global economic growth between now and 2014 would be provided by China, India, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Southeast Asian countries.
"The creation of new trade flows and meaningful market opening, particularly in key emerging markets, is required to fulfill the development promise of Doha," he said, referring to the "Doha Development Agenda" of the current trade liberalisation talks.
However, Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim handed the ball back to the United States and other developed countries, saying that it was "unreasonable" to expect developing nations to make "unilateral concessions" in order to secure the round.
"The contribution of developing countries would be greater than that given by developed countries in any of the previous negotiating rounds," he pointed out.
Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said talks could "move forward quickly" only if countries adhered to the development objective of the Round and if major issues such as those surrounding cotton -- which is being held up over disagreement on US subsidies -- were dealt with sympathetically."
Negotiations over the past three months have been confined to peripheral issues, "but the gaps on the impasse are precisely on headline issues," Sharma warned, indicating that key problems dogging talks have not been addressed.

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