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July 27, 2005

"Free Trade," Bush Style

The Bush administration commitment to free trade:

No WTO agreement on farm liberalisation talks: By Alan Beattie and Frances Williams in Geneva: Talks on liberalising farm trade came to a halt without agreement at the World Trade Organisation on Tuesday, slashing almost to nothing the already slim chances of a big breakthrough in the Doha round of global trade negotiations by the autumn. The latest round of talks on cutting agricultural tariffs and reforming farm subsidies, which have been continuing for several days, broke up with countries still far apart. Ministers had wanted the meetings to produce a broad outline of a deal on farm and industrial goods trade by the end of this week, when the WTO starts its month-long summer break. But the chair of the farm negotiations, New Zealand's WTO ambassador Tim Groser, said he could not produce a framework that commanded consensus. Participants said that continuing sticking points included the EU's refusal to go beyond a broad commitment to use a particular formula....

Meanwhile, participants said, the US continued to resist making concessions on domestic farm subsidies. The EU and the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting countries are pushing the US to restrict payments that compensate farmers for low prices. "We were looking for movement from the Americans and did not get it," said one Cairns Group ambassador yesterday...

The Doha Round is one of the most important things the Bush administration might be doing. And it is one of the things the Bush administration cares about least. Typical.

Posted by DeLong at July 27, 2005 12:49 PM