The latest breakdown of talks related
to the Doha Round of trade liberalization negotiations was not all that disappointing to US textile
representatives in Washington who have felt all along they had more to lose than to gain from the
round. They were afraid their tariffs could be cut without getting any significant overseas market
access in return. Top trade officials of several leading players in the international trade picture
had scheduled four days of negotiations in Potsdam, Germany, but the talks were broken off
prematurely when it became clear they were getting nowhere.
US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab expressed her “deep disappointment” but said the
United States remains committed to a successful round and the support of the World Trade
Organization. She said the United States has been looking for an “ambitious and balanced” outcome,
but that apparently was not developing. The major stumbling blocks were Brazil’s stance on
agriculture, India’s position on services, and differences on manufacturing issues. “The United
States has shown and will continue to show our willingness to be constructive, a constructive
negotiating partner to anyone who wants to negotiate in good faith, but we cannot negotiate with
ourselves or with those who draw such red lines as to make it impossible to proceed,” Schwab said.
She added that the rigidity of the positions taken by Brazil and India seem quite distant from the
interests of the developing countries.
Expressing his “great disappointment” with the collapse of the talks, the American Apparel
and Footwear Association’s President Kevin M. Burke said, “The citizens of the United States,
India, Brazil, the European Union and the world are the true losers in the most recent collapse of
the Doha process.”
June 26, 2007