Issue Date: August 4, 2008
Effort To Conclude Trade Talks Collapses
A bid for a breakthrough in the Doha Development Round of global trade talks failed last week when trade ministers from over 30 leading economies were unable to narrow their differences during nine days of marathon negotiations. The meeting at the Geneva headquarters of the World Trade Organization was widely viewed as the last chance for a conclusion to the long-stalled talks, which sought to lower trade barriers around the world. The negotiations collapsed after India and China insisted that they be allowed to impose "special import safeguards" to protect their agricultural products and manufactured goods. "Time and again, China and India reiterated how they could not lower their barriers but insisted we must lower ours," says John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers. The chemical industry had hoped the talks would result in an agreement to eliminate tariffs on all chemical trade worldwide. "Trade negotiators have had nearly seven years to strike a deal that would help businesses grow organically in rich and poor countries," says Steve Elliott, chief executive of the Chemical Industries Association, in London. "It is politics, not economics, that have got in the way."
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