Brazilian president optimistic on Doha Round talks

By Xinhua

Rio de Janeiro : Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said that the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Doha Round talks aimed at pulling down trade barriers between nations are close to reaching an agreement.

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“Nothing has been decided yet. But I think we are close to that,” the president said Monday on his weekly radio programme.

Last week, Lula attended the second summit of the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum in South Africa, which was wrapped up with a document calling for the resumption of the Doha Round.

Lula said India, Brazil and South Africa joined the G-20 group of developing countries founded in 2003 at a WTO conference with special interest in agriculture, showing they are interested in making developing nations the greatest winners of the Round.

The Doha Round was launched in 2001 in a bid to lower barriers in global trade and help the poor countries’ development. But negotiations have been stalled due to sharp differences between major WTO members on agricultural, trade and industrial market accesses.

In the Doha talks, developing countries want the US to cut its farm subsidies while Washington and the European Union want developing countries to cut industrial tariffs.

Lula said developing countries would not sacrifice industries for agricultural development because it might risk gaining nothing.

“It is a little hard, because subsidies to the US agriculture are really high,” he pointed out.

However, Lula said he believed that “there is political interest” in reaching an agreement “up to the end of the year”.

“But there needs to be concession in the agricultural field from the wealthy countries’ side,” he said.