Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New life for Doha?

Sources: Some Progress in Global Trade Effort - NYTimes.com; US and EU revive hopes of trade deal - FT.com; Mandelson to push Bush on trade - FT.com

José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and President Bush met to discuss the Doha trade talks and pledged to revive the negotiations. Both sides recognize an urgency to get a trade deal done before Mr. Bush’s Congressional mandate to negotiate trade pacts expires at the end of June and is unlikely to be extended by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

EU farm subsidies and tariffs have been the primary hurdle in earlier trade talks, but the EU is now signaling a greater willingness to make concessions in this area. EU trade officials insist that the sides are no longer that far apart on agriculture. At the same time, Europe is counting on the US to help convince developing nations to reduce trade barriers on industrial goods.


Is the reported “progress” on the Doha trade talks more than rhetoric? Can the EU and US reduce agricultural subsidies enough to appease developing nations? If clear progress is being made, should Congress extend President Bush’s negotiating authority?

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