Getting Close

Rich and poor nations were close to striking a historic deal on Saturday to slash billions of dollars in farm subsidies, create more open industrial markets and put troubled global commerce negotiations back on track. Rich and poor nations were close to striking a historic deal on Saturday to slash billions of dollars in farm subsidies, create more open industrial markets and put troubled global commerce negotiations back on track. Almost a year after talks collapsed in acrimony at a meeting in Cancun, Mexico, World Trade Organization(WTO) members were on the verge of agreeing on contentious trade issues ranging from farm reform to negotiations about a new customs code.

“I think that the momentum is such that it is difficult not to conclude (successfully),” Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told reporters at the WTO’s headquarters.

“This is the beginning of the end for (farm) subsidies. Export subsidies will be eliminated first,” Amorim added.

Brazil leads the so-called G20 group of nations which played a key role in the failure of last year’s talks in Cancun, where they mounted fierce attacks on rich countries’ farm subsidies.

Any deal will have to be approved by the WTO’s full 14