The US, India and Brazil have lowered their ambitions for a global trade agreement, said EU 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,” Mandelson said. “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 World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiators have tried for more than five years to get a deal to boost the global economy and help poor nations ease poverty by exporting more. Disputes over farm trade and market access for industrial goods have led to missed deadlines, sparking concerns about further delays.
The four key WTO governments—the US, the EU, Brazil and India—will meet in Germany in two weeks to conclude a framework so that 150 members of the trade arbiter can work out a draft before August.
Should they fail, it will be left to the WTO director general, the general membership, and chairmen of WTO’s negotiating groups, to decide how to proceed.