December 19, 2005


Wave of protests as deal done on trade (SOPHIE WALKER AND DOUG PALMER, 12/19/05, The Scotsman)

MINISTERS from 149 states saved global trade talks from collapse yesterday with an interim deal to end farm export subsidies by 2013 and make the markets of wealthy countries more accessible to the world's poorest nations.

Ministers expressed relief after the marathon negotiations that they had averted a repeat of failed conferences in Seattle in 1999 and in Cancun in 2003. [...]

Big-hitters among developing nations, led by Brazil, India and Argentina, gave their nod to the draft but voiced their frustration over the EU's refusal to agree on 2010 as the cut-off date for export support.

"I think the EU owes one to the developing countries. We showed a real will to negotiate and we didn't feel it was the same from the other side," said Alfredo Chiaradia, Argentina's trade minister.

In a victory for West African cotton-producing nations, rich countries agreed to eliminate all export subsidies on cotton in 2006. It also represents a concession by the United States, a major cotton exporter. Rob Portman, a US trade representative said American cotton growers would probably be unhappy about this aspect of the agreement.

The unrest makes the agreement look better than it is, but it does move the ball forward.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 19, 2005 7:33 AM
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