US Is Counting on Brazil to Resume Stalled Doha Trade Talks

The United States called on Brazil, yesterday, January 11, to exercise influence over its peers in the G-20 group of developing nations and try to achieve a breakthrough in the stalled Doha global trade talks.

"We encourage Brazil to play a leadership role in moving the G-20 towards a successful Doha outcome – one that opens markets in both developed and developing countries and creates new trade flows," said U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Clifford Sobel. 

The Doha round was suspended last July following differences between the main groups: G-20 demanding greater access for agriculture in rich countries' markets while the US and the EU are pushing for greater opportunities for industrialized goods and services in emerging countries.

However the United States also claims that less farm protection in some emerging markets such as in India could help unlock Doha talks. But any deal needs the support of Brazil, an agricultural giant, and India, a force in the G-20.

Next week Brazilian trade officials will travel to India to get their counterparts to agree on a common negotiating strategy for the two countries, newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported. Brazil's Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, met last week with U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab to talk about speeding up Doha.

U.S., European Union and Japanese trade officials said this week they were pushing for a world trade deal to be completed early this year. U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab is due to meet World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy in Geneva today.

Meantime France warned EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson against making further concessions on agriculture.

During a meeting with Mandelson in Paris, Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy "firmly reminded" the top Brussels trade negotiator that his existing offer to cut tariffs on farm goods "constituted a red line and exhausted the European Union's room for negotiation," a ministry statement said.

France, which insists European concessions should not go beyond the reform of the EU's Common Agriculture Policy agreed four years ago, threatened previously to veto any final trade deal.

Mandelson said he had held "constructive and open" talks with Douste-Blazy, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and other senior French officials on Thursday. "We share the objective of reaching an ambitious, balanced conclusion to the Doha Round in 2007," he said in a statement.

Mercopress

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