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Mandelson rejects compromise with US ahead of Cairns meeting
Cat : International Conferences
Date : 2006-09-19 14:46:26                      Reader : 343
Without taking into consideration encouraging developed countries particularly their agriculture products and open western markets for skilled cadres and free speculation of labour powers, why should developed countries open their markets for the West ?!

 

Associated France Press (AFP) 19/9/2006

Mandelson rejects compromise with US ahead of Cairns meeting

 

by Neil Sands
CAIRNS, Australia (AFP) - European trade chief Peter Mandelson has rejected as "undo-able" a proposed compromise with the US that forms the central plank of an international meeting here on reviving global trade liberalization talks.

EU Trade Commissioner Mandelson told the Australian Financial Review that the Canberra-brokered compromise asked too much of European farmers and would also be rejected by developing nations.

"I think Australia understands that this would be unacceptable to developing nations," Mandelson said in the report Tuesday, appearing to dash hopes of a breakthrough at a Cairns Group meeting beginning here Wednesday.

Australia called the meeting of 18 agricultural exporting nations in the hope of reviving World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks suspended in July amid a bitter row between the EU and US on farm tariffs and subsidies.

Mandelson declined an invitation to the specially-expanded meeting, even though other powerbrokers such as US Trade Representative Susan Schwab and WTO chief Pascal Lamy will attend.

Australia's proposed deal involves the US cutting its farm subsidies by a further 5.0 billion dollars and the EU reducing its tariffs by a further 5.0 percent.

Mandelson also said that if the WTO talks were not revived by March next year then they were likely to be shelved for the forseeable future.

Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile played down Mandelson's rejection of the proposal as a hardline negotiating tactic.

"Everybody is taking positions at the moment and countries like the EU and Japan and the US are in a very defensive position as far as reforming their agricultural programs -- of course they are going to take a hard line," Vaile told public radio.

"But the reality is that the rest of the membership of the WTO is not prepared to sign off on a deal that does not liberalise agriculture."

Earlier, Vaile said Australia would use the meeting to tell developing nations they must open up their agricultural markets if they want a successful conclusion to the WTO's Doha Round, which began in the Qatari capital in 2001 and was supposed to finish in 2004.

He said there was a sense of urgency about the meeting because the US administration's trade negotiation mandate would run out in the first half of next year.

"The urgency is real," he said. "There is a critical timeframe that everybody is working to at the moment and if we miss that window of opportunity, then it's possible that these negotiations may go on for another three years."

For her part, Schwab was pessimistic about the chances of wrapping up the negotiations quickly in remarks published Tuesday in Singapore's Emerging Markets financial daily.

"If you had to put money on this, it is more likely that the Doha Round will not close this year or next, or perhaps two to three years from now because of these diffrences," she said in excerpts from an interview in late August.

She said expeience showed the previous Uruguay Round of WTO talks stretched to eight years before they were resolved, noting "we're only in year five of the Doha Round, so one could argue this is sort of normal course of events".

WTO director-general Pascal Lamy remained upbeat, telling an IMF- World Bank development committee meeting in Singapore Monday that he suspended the talks as a "time out" to allow serious reflection among participants.

"The real questions ... are 'how' and 'when' we can conclude the trade negotiations?" he said.

"The right answers, I believe, are 'ambitiously' and 'soon'. We are close to moving the trade and growth agenda a big step forward, and that is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss."


 
 
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