Global Trends by Martin Khor
Monday 1 October 2007
Last week, there were
conflicting signals as to whether the World Trade Organisation’s negotiations
will revive or continue to decline. The
Will the World Trade Organisation’s troubled Doha Round suddenly kick back into life, or go on to a new impasse and a possible slow death?
It’s still difficult to predict, and the next few weeks should clarify the situation.
Last week, mixed signals
were coming from the
On one hand is the optimism
emanating from a
Bush said: "We had
a good discussion on
Lula said positive news on
the world trade talks could be announced in the next few days. "On
Amorim said this is enough to encourage us to deeply engage in negotiations, but added that an agreement would require subsidies to be cut to closer to $13 billion.
Most developing countries
don’t mind making some commitments, even significant ones, but not to
the extent the
If their industrial tariffs are cut to the bone (for example to 5 to 15 per cent), they fear their local firms will not survive the competition from cheap imports. Nor will their farmers escape revenue losses when imports intrude into their market.
The US Trade Representative
Susan Schwab has already signaled a “blame game” should the talks fail.
She has pointed a finger at countries like
Some diplomats think Schwab’s aggressive stance is due to the difficulty she has in delivering, because at the end it is Congress that adopts trade deals.
In an article titled “
Success in global trade negotiations will most likely have to wait until a new president is in the White House, according to senior Congress members interviewed by the FT.
Charles Rangel, the chair
of the House ways and means committee, which regulates foreign trade,
said: "At this point in time I don't think we have to deal with
Underscoring the difficulties
that the US Congress will pose for the
The text wants US subsidies
on cotton to be cut deeper than on other products, because of the campaign
by African farmers to get a fair deal for their cotton. But the Senators
want to continue high protection for
Cotton is a highly emotional issue of high priority, especially with African delegations. Thus, a move to change the text may cause a lot of dissatisfaction.
In the next two weeks, how
the talks go at the WTO will clarify if a deal is possible at the end
of this year. If not, the negotiations may shift to “slow motion” until