US to be blamed for failed WTO talks: Expert

Business Line, August 05,2008

The United States is to be solely blamed for the flopped WTO mini-Ministerial talks as it was not ready to “sew up a deal” in view of the impending presidential elections and it is unlikely that the Doha Development Round will conclude before 201 1-12, a trade expert said today.

“The US was not ready to sew up a deal because of a lame duck President who does not have a fast-track authority and I, therefore, expect the WTO talks to begin in full earnest in mid-2009 when there is a new US administration,” said the trade expert Mr. Pradeep S Mehta.

“The flopped Geneva meeting has, however, removed the envelope. Thus, I feel that it did achieve some progress so that the glass is half full and not half empty,”’ he said.

Expecting the Doha Development Talk to conclude sometime in 2011-12 Mr Mehta said, “It was just not possible to finish it now.”

The Doha Round is meant to deepen commitments already made in the Uruguay Round of negotiations and make the global trading system more development friendly. “Thus, it needs much more time as it involves greater depth and many more concessions from rich countries like US and EU and advanced developing countries like India and China,” he said.

“The collapse of WTO talks augurs well for India as it could not afford a deal at the moment because of ensuing elections,” he said. – PTI

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