WTO trade talks in limbo

Potsdam, June 23:

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is running out of last chances.

With emotions ranging from anger to confusion, officials from the WTO’s four biggest powers left Potsdam yesterday knowing they had failed to break a six-year logjam between rich and poor countries over eliminating barriers to trade in farm produce and manufactured goods.

That leaves in limbo a new world trade pact aimed at adding billions of dollars to the global economy and lifting millions of out of poverty. Few are banking on negotiations in Geneva among 150 members to turn out more successful than those that involved just the US, the EU, Brazil and India.

“We feel like the rug was pulled from under our feet,” US agriculture secretary Mike Johanns said after the talks ended, two days ahead of schedule.

The EU and US said two emerging economic powe-rs refused to offer new ma-rket opportunities for ma-nufacturing exports. Europeans and Americans que-stioned Brazil’s intentions.