29 Jul 2008

WTO talks in jeopardy

4:30 pm on 29 July 2008

Talks in Geneva on liberalising global trade appear to have run into serious trouble, with the United States blaming China and India. France is threatening not to sign any deal.

A member of the US delegation, David Shark, says China and India have thrown the entire Doha round of negotiations into the gravest jeopardy.

He accuses them of being overly-protective of their own farmers and failing to do enough to open their markets.

But India's trade minister, Kamal Nath, blames problems at the talks on rich countries.

The French government says the deal being worked out in Geneva is unacceptable.

Trade officials from around 30 WTO members have been in Geneva since last Monday trying to reach an agree on terms for cutting farm subsidies and tariffs on agricultural and manufactured goods.

The trade talks, known as the Doha round, began in 2001.