Four nation talks on Doha trade round break down

Talks broke down among a group of four countries — the U.S., the EU, India, and Brazil — to move forward on the WTO Doha Round negotiations. The discussions in Potsdam were considered important in trying to reach agreement on greater market access in both agriculture and manufactured goods.

Previous talks saw the U.S. and the EU blaming each other for the lack of agreement. But this time, those countries blamed India and Brazil for not wanting to move at all in opening their markets further to outside goods and products.

With Trade Promotion Authority expiring at the end of June (which gives the Bush administration the ability to negotiate trade agreements with an up-or-down vote by Congress), some had thought that progress at this meeting might spur support for renewing TPA. With the failure of these talks, trade negotiators will be continuing Doha discussions in Geneva. However, if Brazil and India do represent the views of many developing countries, the outlook isn’t promising.

As reported by Bloomberg, here’s what the U.S. Trade Representative said:

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab has said the U.S. can trim more, but only if advanced developing nations and the EU open their markets to more U.S. farm goods. Today, she questioned whether Nath and Amorim were even prepared to negotiate as the “rigidity” of Brazil’s and India’s position “seemed quite different from the positions of the G20.”

The EU, on the other hand, “showed this week it was ready to stretch,” Schwab told a news conference. “The only way you get to a trade agreement is willingness to compromise.”