Two trade ministers from the developing world have publicly voiced doubts about the willingness and ability of the United States to reach a global trade agreement during 2010. Their criticism calls into question the ability of leaders of the G20 nations to follow through on their September 2009 promise to conclude a trade agreement this year.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, South African trade minister Rob Davies cited the presence of relatively junior American officials at an ongoing round of trade talks and American refusal to base its present bargaining positions on prior compromises reached as part of the Doha Development Round negotiations as evidence that the United States is unlikely to be part of any trade agreement reached this year. Davies also noted domestic political opposition as a factor in American hesitancy to reach a trade deal.
Rachid Mohamed Rachid, trade minister of Egypt, also recently stated that he doubted that the United States would be part of a trade agreement this year.
Developing nations had been pressing the World Trade Organization for an agreement limiting industrialized nations’ ability to subsidize agricultural exports, among other provisions. Such an agreement now appears unlikely.
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