WTO negotiations hit roadblock

Associated Press

Geneva, April 20:

Talks to cut farm trade subsidies suffered a setback late as negotiators failed to agree on how most rich countries should calculate their import duties.

The technical issue centers on how to convert those import duties — which are currently expressed in dollars per tonne — into percentages, which is required if negotiators are to agree wide-ranging cuts.

“We’ve been in tight situations like this before,” Tim Groser, the New Zealand ambassador who chairs the talks, said yesterday, “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Delegations from the 148-nation WTO have gathered this week at the trade body’s

Geneva headquarters as part of the current round of treaty talks, launched in Doha, Qatar, in 2001.

Then, the plan was to create a new global trade treaty by the end of 2004.