Widespread lament over collapse of WTO talks

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2008 (AFP) – Government and business leaders lamented the failure to reach a global trade pact in Geneva on Tuesday, with a leading US business group blaming China and India for the collapse of the talks. Argentina however blamed wealthy nations for failing to provide enough concrete benefits for developing countries.

The breakdown “is bad news for the world’s businesses, workers, farmers and most importantly the poor,” said the US Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than three million businesses and organizations.

Chamber president and chief executive Tom Donohue said in a statement that “the real losers” are the world’s poorest countries.

“It’s ironic that this blow to the Doha Round came from two of the chief beneficiaries of worldwide trade. India and China are emerging powers, but with great power comes great responsibility,” Donohue said.

In the talks the United States and India were sharply divided over a proposed special safeguard mechanism (SSM) in the agriculture sector.

India, China and some other developing countries wanted the SSM to kick in at a lower import surge level than had been proposed in a bid to protect their poor farmers. Others wanted it to take eff