Dismayed powers plea for salvage effort after wrecked WTO talks

GENEVA, July 30, 2008 (AFP) – World trading powers appealed on Wednesday for efforts to salvage WTO proposals amid regret and emotion at the collapse of nine-day marathon talks, and warnings that the poorest countries will suffer. “I would only urge the Director-General (of the WTO) to treat this as a pause, not a breakdown, to keep on the table what is there,” Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said the morning after the dramatic collapse.

The world’s economic superpower, the United States, and one of the biggest emerging economies, India, shared dismay and regret even as they stuck by the unreconciled positions on import tariffs which sank the talks on Tuesday, while African countries were just plain angry.

Trade Representative Susan Schwab said the breakdown was “distressing,” while Nath turned up to talk to reporters “with a very heavy heart.”

“Susan Schwab said she loved me and I said I loved her too,” Nath said. “But probably she didn’t love me enough. I told her that.”

Talks collapsed after nine gruelling days of negotiations due to disagreement between India and the United States over the so-called special safeguard mechanism (SSM).

The measure is designed to protect poor farmers, allowing countri