After negotiators tried to bridge gaps over the weekend, new cracks appeared when global trade talks entered their second week in Geneva. The US accused China and India of blocking an agreement, while France rejected the deal currently on offer.
Tension heightened at the WTO as the
These big trading nations exchanged harsh words at a morning meeting, while other key players sought to calm nerves, saying that a deal was too close at hand to throw away the past week's hard-earned gains.
Proposed deal “not acceptable” for
“The project currently on the table is not acceptable as it stands, to the extent that it shows no advance on elements which are altogether essential in our eyes," government spokesman Luc Chatel said after a cabinet meeting. He mentioned "the protection of indications of geographical origin", in a reference to such issues as the labelling of wine, and "the defence of our European industrial interests in the face of emerging countries".
Negotiators have been trying to find an agreement based on proposals put forward by WTO Director General Pascal Lamy on Friday. A majority of key trading nations accepted the so-called Lamy text, but
Although some progress was made on sticking points such as controversial tariffs on bananas, he added: “A dozen unresolved issues still remain on the table.”
In a meeting with all 153 member states Monday morning, the United States accused India and China of threatening to shatter the prospect of a deal.
"All their invocations of development during the past years ring hollow when these major players threaten the development benefits already on the table that are absolutely vital to the vast majority of the membership," the US deputy head at the Geneva mission to the WTO, David Shark, said.
The accusations were met with sharp retort from the Chinese, as said by diplomats attending the meeting.
Date created : 2008-07-28