Wrecked WTO talks change the world trade game

GENEVA, July 30, 2008 (AFP) – Ministers saw a “new order” take hold of global trade Wednesday, with emerging economies calling the shots after WTO plans collapsed in a potentially devastating blow to millions of the world’s poor. “One thing that we can celebrate is that deals here are no longer made just by the rich countries,” said Brazil’s Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, a key broker in the talks, standing alongside India’s Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath.

“They have to take us into account and that will continue to be so,” he told reporters, as ministers assessed the wreckage of the talks on the morning after the dramatic collapse.

Delegates had struggled for nine days to reach consensus on subsidy levels and import tariffs for a new deal under the WTO’s Doha Round, which has foundered repeatedly since it was launched seven years ago.

Optimism peaked at the weekend over a package of proposals by the World Trade Organization’s Director-General Pascal Lamy, but talks finally crashed without a deal on Tuesday night.

Lamy told a French radio station that the negotiations had revealed a “new world landscape in which emerging powers such as India, China and Brazil want to leave their mark on world trade.”