Brazil Rushes to Heal Wounds After WTO Talks Collapse in Geneva

Argentina and Brazil presidents, Kirchner and Lula Brazil's Foreign Affairs minister Celso Amorim believes that Mercosur must do its utmost to find a common position and talk as an only voice following the aftermath of the recent Doha round effort in Geneva where Brazil and Argentina stood on different sides.

Amorim statements not only follow the Geneva global trade talks collapse but are also an anticipation of Brazilian President Lula da Silva's official visit to Argentina next Sunday. Both countries are the main axis of Mercosur.

Talking with the Brazilian press Amorim said it was a "paradox" that Mercosur has a common united position in the Free Trade of the Americas Association negotiations and with the European Union, but "in the WTO we are incapable of such unity."

"If we consider such meeting (of WTO in Geneva) as a lesson, I agree, we must work to achieve a common, united position," underlined Amorim who described the different position with Argentina as possibly "a legacy of the past when we were divided and we all spoke for ourselves."

The WTO ministerial Geneva meeting contention had Brazil on one side, and Argentina, China and India on the other, leading emerging countries rejection of a last minute deal worked out by WTO head Pascal Lamy to unlock the talks.

Argentina's main negotiator Alfredo Chiaradia in Geneva admitted that the different positions with Brazil "generate tension inside Mercosur."

Amorim who supported Lamy said Brazil did the "right thing" and if negotiations had advanced "would have done everything possible to contemplate Argentina's interests."

WTO talks broke down when developing nations such as India, China and Argentina were unable to agree on measures to protect farmers from emerging economies. The measures would have imposed tariffs to protect farmers in case of a sudden surge in goods on the market or a drop in prices. United States was adamant in demanding an elimination of any possible transitory tariffs.

Both India and China are believed to be fearful of their rural populations which have so far been left out of the economic success of urban and industrial areas.

"There was certain intransigence on both sides," said Amorim referring to United States and India.

However, "Brazil didn't distance itself from India or Argentina," underlined Amorim. "In our position we could not come out as total hostages of the Argentine stance in a crucial moment for the overall negotiations. Besides Brazil could not justify rejecting a draft which we considered acceptable."




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