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Free trade in crisis

Who stands for what in the WTO negotiations, and what consequences will a collapse have?

Agriculture accounts for only three per cent of global production and ten per cent of world trade, but at the same time agriculture is the most distorted sector of the world economy. Removing trade barriers and cutting subsidy schemes will thus have major benefits for poor countries. Nobel laureate in economics, US professor Joseph Stiglitz, believes that the EU and the US lost a golden opportunity for a fairer trade when they chose to start negotiations in Doha from the ground after the collapse in Seattle in 1999. He believes a binding agreement on full market access is the solution. According to the World Bank, 60 percent of the benefits envisaged during the Doha ministerial meeting will come from agriculture.

Great distance

The Americans, through their trade representative Rob Portman, have come up with a fresh proposal. He proposes a tariff cut of 90 percent on agricultural products, and will cut the most trade-distorting subsidies. . .

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