30 Jul 2008

Trade talks fail

9:42 am on 30 July 2008

A final attempt to break a deadlock in world trade talks in Geneva has failed.

After nine days of negotiation, World Trade Organisation director-general Pascal Lamy said on Tuesday that the talks collapsed because of differences over food tariffs.

Trade Ministers were unable to reach an agreement on the agriculture and industrial sections of an accord, despite progress on other issues.

The Doha round of talks began in 2001.

However, New Zealand trade minister Phil Goff still hopes that the Doha talks will continue at a later date.

Mr Goff describes the outcome of the talks as extremely disappointing told Morning Report he hopes discussions can continue at a later date.

But Mr Lamy said the dust will need to "settle a bit" first.

Australian view

Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean says the collapse of the talks is a major setback for the world economy.

He told ABC Radio it was unfortunate that some countries involved in the talks could not overcome domestic concerns for the greater good.

Noting that it was a complicated set of negotiations, Mr Crean said the major sticking point was a failure to reach agreement on the detail of a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries.