Skip to comments.Insults Fly In Dust Of Doha (US - Europe)
Posted on 07/25/2006 7:12:50 PM PDT by blam
Insults fly in the dust of Doha
By Edmund Conway, Economics Editor
Hopes that anything will be salvaged from the wreckage of the Doha Round were fading last night as Europe and the US traded bitter accusations and recriminations, with each blaming the other for the collapse of the key trade talks.
US trade representative Susan Schwab accused the EU of lying after Peter Mandelson claimed it was America's intransigence that caused the failure of the globalisation talks.
In turn, Mr Mandelson, the European trade commissioner, repeated his allegations about the US and appealed over Ms Schwab's head to President Bush to step in and rescue the talks.
The transatlantic battle of words marks a new low in the already frosty relations between the United States and Europe.
A host of politicians warned that the talks were now, at best, frozen for years.
The talks, which had aimed to cut trade barriers across the world, boosting exports and dramatically reducing poverty, collapsed on Monday after a key group of countries failed to agree on the amount by which they will cut agricultural tariffs. Mr Mandelson said that night that the US had refused to follow its lead and improve the offer it brought to the table, leaving World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lamy with little to do other than suspend negotiations.
But Ms Schwab said this was simply untrue. "Yesterday's statement by the EU alleging that the US failed to show flexibility and attempting to divert the blame for the stalemate is false and misleading," she said. "The countries that have tended to be finger-pointing at this point are the ones that are reluctant to act in terms of market access.
"We are deeply disappointed that the EU failed to exhibit similar restraint and hope this will not jeopardise the few chances we have left to save the Doha Round."
Politicians and businessmen are desperately hoping the negotiators can rescue something from the five-year-long Doha Round, but after yesterday's development the outlook is bleaker than ever.
Mr Mandelson's spokesman said: "Despite what the US says, there can be little doubt that our version of what happened was accurate. The talks broke down because one party didn't bring the flexibility that was indicated by the G8 leaders to the debate."
Mr Mandelson said the breakdown could have been avoided. "The gaps between us were not great."
Although in recent months Europe has made concessions and improved its offer, Oxfam said yesterday that it should still shoulder some of the blame for the WTO collapse.
We know the talks failed and that both sides blame the other.
What we don't know, and the article thoroughly avoids, is what each side's specific positions are, and what their counter-arguments to the other side are.
This is symptomatic of reporters who apparently cover technical issues, and yet are either woefully unprepared, or willfully unwilling, to lay bare what each side demands and offers. Some authors.... do this intentionally in order to swing an issue away from fact and into the realm of blame. They can appear fair and unbiased by presenting balanced accusations. Unfortunately, they spread no illumination- but merely rancor.
Blam does a good job selecting this article for it's importance... it's just that the author apparently has no interest in detail.
Good. I might be the only one to say this but the globalist were trying to sell out the American agricultural base this time just like they sold out the manufacturing base last time.
I'm glad they fell apart and hope they never resume. I'd also like to see congress never give out "fast-tracking" authority to the administration on the negotiation of treaties again. We should not be party to any treaty that isn't in compliance with the US constitution, meaning the US government cannot guarantee in a treaty something it could not constitutionally do or that is subjected to the full process regarding treaty review by the Us congress.