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US-EU Summit: No light at end of WTO tunnel

US-EU Summit: difficult to see any light at end of WTO tunnel

Today’s EU-US Summit in Vienna will struggle to breathe new life into degenerating world trade talks, only a week before crucial negotiations start, says international agency Oxfam.

Oxfam is very pessimistic about this WTO round being successfully resolved because the EU and the US are sticking to their protectionist positions on agriculture while asking poor countries to open their services and manufacturing markets.

“The danger is that both the EU and the US want to maintain their unfair agriculture models and seem willing to sacrifice the potential of this round to lift millions of people out of poverty,” said Oxfam spokesperson Louis Belanger.

“These talks are floundering because neither the EU nor the US will blink first. For months now, the EU and the US have stuck to their inflexible positions and have put the trade round in jeopardy. No one else has the power to conclude this round successfully.”

“Chancellor Schüssel, Commission President Barroso and US President Bush can talk about the need for a trade deal but we’re nearly out of time. The political imperative to deliver a good deal for poor countries has been missing until now. Continued brinkmanship must not be an option here,” Belanger said.

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