Major economies square off over global trade deal

Tue Dec 1, 2009 5:54pm GMT

By Jonathan Lynn and Laura MacInnis

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States sparred with the world's large emerging economies on Tuesday over the fate of a long-delayed deal to open global trade that critics say has become largely irrelevant in light of the financial crisis.

After Brazil's foreign minister, Celso Amorim, told a World Trade Organisation ministerial that developing countries would offer no more to clinch a Doha Round deal, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk called on all the WTO's 153 members to get "out of their comfort zones".

"If you take Mr Amorim's rationale then we are basically dooming Doha to failure because everybody's saying we want change but we don't want to do anything different," he said.

On the second day of a three-day meeting, Kirk stressed to reporters that while Washington was not seeking further concessions from the world's poorest countries, emerging powers needed to open markets more to make the new global pact worthwhile.

Countries seeking more sway in the governance of the global economy, among them Brazil, China and India, needed to show more leadership in the Doha talks to edge the agreement toward conclusion next year, the U.S. trade chief said.

Others questioned whether that 2010 goal could be met.

"The issues that are stopping its conclusion are issues of substance, of content," South African Trade Minister Rob Davies told Reuters.

While developed economies are seeking new markets for their exports, poorer nations smarting from the recession are looking for the development boost first promised to them when the Doha Round was launched in Qatar in 2001.   Continued...

<p>A farm worker reaps tobacco leaves on a farm on the outskirts of the capital Harare in Zimbabwe February 21, 2006. REUTERS/Howard Burditt</p>
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