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Brazil Convenes US and EU in Effort to Rescue WTO Talks

Brazil will be hosting this weekend a high level meeting in an attempt to rescue World Trade Organization negotiations with the participation of the G-20 group of emerging countries and negotiators from the leading powers, Europe, United States and Japan.

"This is a first step" to relaunch the Doha Round negotiations which were suspended last July, said Roberto Azevedo, head of the Economics Department from the Brazilian Foreign Affairs ministry, adding that "we must send a clear signal that we’re relaunching the negotiations round as soon as possible".

The weekend event has significantly increased its rating following the announcement than next Sunday US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, European Union Trade Commissar Peter Mandelson and Japan’s Agriculture minister Shoichi Naklagawa, plus Pascal Lamy, head of WTO, will be landing in Rio do Janeiro.

The Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry said Brasí­lia convened the ministerial meeting to show the willingness of developing countries to retake negotiations and representatives from the G-20 23 members will be present, plus the Less Developed Countries Group; the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Association; G-33 and the WTO African group.

Emerging countries are the great losers of the stalling of WTO talks since the heart of the debate is the access of their more competitive farm produce to the rich markets of Europe and United States. In exchange the EU and the US are demanding a greater access for their manufactured goods and service industries.

According to the schedule, emerging countries will be meeting Saturday and on Sunday will receive representatives from the EU, US and Japan in separate appointments. However Azevedo pointed out that this first step must be interpreted as a meeting for "reflection" and not "decision making or even a negotiations session," which means in good diplomatic jargon that no new proposals are expected but rather a commitment to resume the stalled talks.

Emerging countries are expected to insist on the resumption of negotiations with "no back steps", which means no review of what has been achieved so far. Another sensitive issue according to trade analysts is that all negotiators are well aware that significant stumbling blocks lie ahead: midterm Congressional elections in the US and that Congress effectively extends the White House the special negotiating powers, which expire in less than twelve months time.

When negotiations broke down, India, Brazil and leaders from the G-20 and the European Union blamed the United States. Nevertheless and in spite of the collapse of talks, "the United States seems committed to ambitious goals in agriculture," said Mr. Azevedo, and "we’re hoping this proclaimed intention becomes something effective and the US farm subsidies begin to fall."

"Evidence of creativity and unification of positions" will signal if the talks really take off or remain at their stalled confrontation, admitted Brazilian diplomatic sources.

The G-20 born in 2003 and with 23 members includes: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Philippines, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela y Zimbabwe.

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  • ch.c.

    Fun fun fun
    – that Brazil is the leader of the G 20 to do more business (one way of course) while it ranks 121 out of 175 in the 2007 Doing Business report just published by the World Bank.
    – that most of the G 20 members also ranks badly in that same report.

    It is like in a classroom where the worst students will tell the best students how things should be done.
    Do you expect that the best students get lower notes to be on par with the worst students ?
    Should it not be the opposite ?
    Strange that you want to export your bad governances and management practices.

    When Brazilian government was/ is saying all along that no deal is better than a bad deal……cant they think only 1 second,.,,,,yess 1 second……that we are then also entitled to SAY THE SAME ??????
    Not in their view……..of course.

    Therefore lets negotiate……ONCE MORE. But if you expect concessions without providing similar reciprocal concessions…..you know that we will go nowhere.

    Afterall Exports are only a small part of a country wealth and development.
    Creating an environment on internal demand is far more rewarding than exports.
    And exports should basically be for the surplus ONLY.
    Unfortunately that is not what Brazil is doing : they export agricultural products to the tune of US$ 45 billions…..while having a population of tens of millions people under nourrished and even some in hunger. Worse Brazil is saying to us : buy still more !!!!!

    Total lack of common sense.

    IN MY VIEW IT IS EVEN CRIMINAL TO SELL FOOD ELSEWHERE INSTEAD OF FEEDING THE LOCAL POPULATION FIRST !

    And it is quite sad AND SHAMEFUL that Lula and every Brazilian citizen wealthy enough to feed themselves APPLAUD AND ARE PROUD OF THIS TYPE OF EXPORTS.

    Finally the Food is the energy of humans while Oil/Gas and whatever is the energy for transforming/creating goods.
    And the two are needed for healthy development physically and economically.
    And the lowest the prices are…..the more afffordable they are to more people……by definition.
    But your theory is saying the exact opposite.
    If a consumer can afford 2 kilos of rice instead of 1, I really dont see how someone can say the opposite.
    Therefore I am not against subsidizes if the result is more affordable and lower prices.
    The subsdidizes is just like your Bolsa Familia that no one criticizes.
    But there is no difference to give cash subsidizes to buy food or subsidizes the price of food.
    It just ends up the same in the 2 cases : there is a cost to the government paid by the wealthier citizens though taxes.
    And if one criticizes the food subsidizes one cannot NOT critizes the social subsidizes….both having exactly the same results.
    Finally it would be wiser to make food more affordable…..because then you can also afford to buy consumer goods which creates far more wealth than the food……even in Brazil !
    But obviously this is not what you do. Your economic growth was only due to your exports growth and not much else.
    And you will never ever have good internal growth while your governmenmt is borrowing money at 11 % above the inflation rate, while companies borrow at 25 % above your inflation rate, while consumers borrow at 55 % over the inflation rate, while even the credit consigned lending is made at above 30 % your inflation rate and while your overdraft rate is at 145 % over yopur inflation rate.

    These absurd rates just make goods NOT OR LESS affordable to YOU !!!!!!!!
    And such shark rates are one of the main reason why Brazil economic growth rate has been/is the world lowest close to the lowest.

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