World Trade Organization talks to forge a new global trade pact collapsed yesterday after seven years of negotiations. An EU spokesman called the breakdown a "massive blow to the confidence in the global economy." The talks fell apart as China and India demanded the authortity to impose "safeguard" tariffs if imports of key crops exceeded set levels, reports the Wall Street Journal.
"In the face of the global food crisis, it's unconscionable that this came down to how much countries could raise their barriers to imports of food," said a US trade representative. But negotiators from large developing countries argued that Washington wanted more access to developing economies without making adquate sacrifices to benefit those nations.