Mftrs cheer trade talks' collapse
By Staff -- Home Textiles Today, 9/19/2003 12:00:00 AM
Last weekend's collapse of the World Trade Organization talks in Cancun, Mexico, is being applauded by AMTAC, the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition.
Auggie Tantillo, AMTAC's Washington coordinator, called the breakdown of the negotiations a "positive development for U.S. manufacturers who want to preserve their investment and presence in the U.S. market.
"We commend the U.S. government for recognizing that no deal is better than a bad deal," he said in a statement. "With more than 2.5 million jobs lost since January 2001, the U.S. manufacturing sector doesn't need any more one-way trade deals."
The talks were supposed to produce a specific blueprint for trade liberalization in all sectors from agriculture to manufacturing, among the 148 member countries of the WTO, which would have assisted in completing the Doha Round late next year.
But the talks broke down in disarray over sharp disputes between industrialized and developing nations. Even the continuing viability of the World Trade Organization itself was called into question by the events.
A fight over $300 billion in agricultural subsidies lay at the core of the dispute. But among other things, WTO trade ministers failed also to agree on a text laying out broad commitments on issues such as the elimination of export subsidies, the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers and basic rules relating to investments and government procurement procedures.
Among the provisions being sought by the developing countries were:
The right to exempt portions of their trade from tariff cuts.
Slower tariff reduction schedules.
Special exemptions from the Doha Round obligations.
"Exacerbating the problem for the US manufacturing sector is the fact that under the current WTO formulation, large industrial powers such as China and India are still classified as developing countries," Tantillo said. "As long as these countries are considered to be developing countries under the WTO, the WTO system will remain flawed and broken."
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