Trade talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO) have failed due to disagreements between the USA, China and India over farm import rules.
The multilateral negotiations, called the Doha Round after the city in Qatar where the 2001 agenda began, have suffered repeated collapses over terms of access to markets.
Developing countries asked for special safeguards to deal with increased imports and falling prices.
“We couldn’t resolve a safeguard mechanism that captured special circumstances but didn’t disrupt normal trade,” explained Minister for Trade Simon Crean. “This was not for want of trying, but the inability to reach an accommodation has meant we have simply been unable to finalise the outline of this deal.”
Crean noted he was disappointed that nothing was signed off at the meeting. “The deal that was shaping up was significant and would have delivered substantial market access gains for Australia.”
Had it been ratified, the deal would have added US $50 billion a year to the world economy, according to an estimate by WTO head Pascal Lamy.