Washington: Brazil and India have pushed their way to the “big table” in world trade talks and are struggling with the responsibility that it entails, like teenagers who have just gotten their driver’s license, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said on Tuesday.
After insisting that developing countries have more say in the outcome of the negotiations, “these countries now find themselves at the big table, or in the small room or whatever description you want,” Schwab told the President’s Export Council in a short briefing on the 6-year-old Doha round trade talks.
“And they are discovering, with that comes responsibility and with that comes obligations. And that sometimes it’s hard to be at the big table in the small room where you are also expected to contribute rather than just ask,” Schwab said.
In “the advanced teen-age years there are responsibilities that come with having that driver’s license,” Schwab added.
Brazil and India have been at the forefront of demanding the United States and the European Union cut their agricultural farm subsidies. But the two developing country leaders have resisted rich country demands that they open their own markets to more foreign farm and manufactured goods.
There is nothing wrong with India and Brazil trying to maximize gains from the talks, but there will not be a world trade agreement if they don’t provide other countries some meaningful new access to their markets, Schwab said.
That’s important not only to the United States, but to many developing countries that would benefit from increased exports to Brazil and India, Schwab said.