Reactions to Doha Round Collapse

July 29, 2008 07:00 PM

Pro Farmer Editors

Following are reactions to the collapse of the Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations this week in Geneva based on press reports or public statements released:

WTO Director General Pascal Lamy: "This is certainly not going to strengthen the multilateral trading system; it will not improve the system which has provided all its members an insurance policy against protectionism over the last 60 years. We will need to let the dust settle. It is probably difficult to look too far into the future at this point."

European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson: "This is a very painful failure and a real setback for the global economy when we really needed some good news."

EU Farm Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel: "If we cannot even manage trade, how should we then find ourselves in a position to manage the new challenges lying ahead of us.

Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming: WTO members need to "get fully prepared for the consequences" of the failure. "Particularly in face of world economic downturn, serious inflation and imminent financial risks, the failure will have a major impact on the fragile multilateral trading system."

Canadian Trade Minister Michael Fortier: "Unfortunately it is indeed a failure. Canada came here wishing for a happy outcome, a new accord that would allow our exporters to gain ground everywhere on the planet. And we find ourselves 10 days later with a failure. So, that in itself, it's very disappointing."

Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz: "There is no doubt this is a significant setback especially for our farmers and exporters, given the economic benefits that they and Canada as a whole set to achieve from a positive outcome. We will push ahead with our trade agenda and our efforts to find more opportunities for our producers and exporters."

Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath: "It's unfortunate in a development round we couldn't run the last mile because of an issue concerning livelihood security."

Brazilian Foreign Affairs Minister Celso Amorim:  "I am very disappointed that we were unable to finish the round; I would not have thought that everything would hinge on the special safeguard measures."

Jaime Castaneda, Senior Vice President and Senior Trade Policy Advisor of the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council: "America's dairy farmers and processors had a great deal riding on whether a new WTO agreement would result from the latest ministerial negotiations held this past week in Switzerland. We hoped that an agreement could be reached that would win the support of the dairy producer sector, as well as the many processors with a strong interest in expanding U.S. exports of dairy products. On the other hand, we also were apprehensive that a bad deal for our industry could be a possible result. In the end, we believe it's better to have no deal than a bad deal. We appreciate the hard work of our trade negotiators, led by Ambassador Susan Schwab and Chief Economist Joe Glauber, who were steadfast in their insistence that any successful Doha round agreement must create new export opportunities for our agricultural products, in both developed and developing countries. Without achieving that goal, there could be no agreement. The U.S. provided leadership by making a bold proposal to reduce its domestic farm supports, but that offer was not countered in any meaningful way with equivalent offers of additional market access, in particular from the developing countries. Negotiations cannot be one-sided if they are to reach consensus. On behalf of their members, USDEC and NMPF strongly urge trade negotiators to continue to try to work towards resolution of these important issues as soon as possible, in order to make greater strides towards the goal of a more balanced trading environment around the world. Both NMPF and USDEC will continue to support balanced trade agreements that represent new export opportunities for our dairy industry. Perhaps another day, that also will include a new WTO agreement."

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