Brussels: The US, India and Brazil have lowered their ambitions for a global trade agreement, said European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, who warned that the EU may water down its own offer as a result.
“What I am seeing in the last week is both a slight hardening of position, but also a lowering of ambition, both on the part of the US and of the developing countries, Brazil and India,” he said in London.
“I would find it hard to sustain the maximalist offer, the full flexibility that I have indicated to my negotiating partners, if others are going to fall short from that.”
The four key WTO governments -- the US, the EU, Brazil and India -- will meet in Germany in about two weeks, seeking to conclude a framework so 150 members of the trade arbiter can work out a draft before August.
“By the end of that meeting, we will be able to see much more clearly whether we’re able to do a deal and at what level of ambition,” he said. “Whatever level of ambition it is, it will need to be balanced.”
“In the area we are most concerned with, balancing agricultural reform in the developed world with a proportionate lowering of tariffs on industrial goods and trade amongst the emerging economies, frankly I have not seen a great deal that has encouraged me,” he said.
Should the four governments fail to complete a blueprint for a broader accord, it will be left to WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy and the general WTO membership, as well as the chairmen of the trade organization’s negotiating groups, to decide how to proceed.