27th Feb 2020

Mandelson invites big trading nations to break WTO deadlock

  • Mr Mandelson remarked that the US is refusing to agree (Photo: European Community, 2005)

EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson has suggested that leaders from the big trading nations may need to meet to unblock the stalled WTO talks.

Speaking to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Mandelson suggested that the top-level trade meeting could be held after the summit of the G8 in St Petersburg this month.

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"The possibility of a meeting of the heads of state and government in some formation or other to take forward the negotiations around the time of the G8 meeting in 10 days is not ruled out," said Mr Mandelson.

He also said that WTO trade ministers will probably have to convene again towards the end of July and remarked that of the key WTO players only the US is refusing to agree to compromise in the interest of reaching agreement on lifting international trade.

"We pushed hard to establish a clear correspondence between the effort we would make on agriculture market access and the effort the US would have to make in turn in the reduction in domestic subsidies," Mandelson said.

"The US was the only major player to refuse to consider moving on this basis and declined to signal any room for further movement," Mr Mandelson added.

A WTO ministers' meeting in Geneva last week missed another target to reach an agreement on tariff reductions on the imports of agricultural and industrial goods.

The WTO talks - also known as the Doha round - started in the capital of Qatar in 2001, and have already missed several deadlines.

A ministerial meeting in December last year failed to reach an agreement but set a deadline for a deal in April which was then postponed to last weekend in Geneva.

The Doha round aims to boost the global economy and help pull millions of people across the world out of poverty by liberalising trade in agriculture, industry and services.

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