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Although there were significant efforts made on all sides throughout the negotiations and more progress made than anyone expected, the collapse of the Doha Round yesterday was unsurprising to anyone who tracked the discussions in Geneva over the past several years.
The Doha Round of international trade negotiations collapsed yesterday and prospects for reviving it are dim. A key factor in the collapse was reportedly the insistence by developing countries, led by India and China, that they need maximum flexibility to protect their agricultural sectors for food security reasons and to protect subsistence farmers.
The U.S. Congress launched a new bipartisan Caucus for Congressional-World Bank Dialogue at a packed event on Capitol Hill July 16. The caucus, co-chaired by Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Betty McCollum (D-MN), provides a forum for members of Congress to engage the World Bank, parliamentarians and policy experts on poverty reduction, global development and trade.
Trade ministers are currently gathered at the World Trade Organization in Geneva to give one last push to delivering a Doha Round trade agreement before it is put on the shelf indefinitely. As it has been from the beginning, agriculture remains a key stumbling block (see my book, Delivering on Doha).
“A leading World Bank economist's claims that biofuels are a major cause of soaring world food prices could further undermine support for the alternative fuel worldwide and cause tensions with the White House, which fervently supports the new industry.
Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Clinton and CEO of the Center for American Progress, have urged rich world leaders assembled for the G8 summit in Japan to take action on the global food crisis, including rapid release of Japanese rice stockpiles imported mostly from the US. In an Op-Ed in today's Boston Globe they write:
A report in the Financial Times by John Thornhill leads with a remarkable quote from French President Nicolas Sarkozy warning the EU that he would block a proposed World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on agriculture that would reduce European production incentives: