| GEO Business|
| Doha trade talks at 'impasse': WTO chief|
| Updated at: 2156 PST, Thursday, May 27, 2010|
PARIS: The Doha Round of trade liberalisation talks is at an "impasse," the head of the WTO said on Thursday, as the United States urged Brazil, China and India to help break the deadlock.
"We are in an impasse," World Trade Organization director general Pascal Lamy said after informal talks with trade ministers on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.
Lamy stressed that global trade liberalisation was "a low-cost package of stimulus" for economies in trouble over public finances, adding: "The reason for concluding the round is more appealing now than at any point before."
US Trade Representative Ron Kirk meanwhile said it was up to Brazil, China and India to accelerate a deal, signalling that Washington was not prepared to make any further concessions in the negotiations.
"The real question is whether India, China and Brazil frankly are ready to assume a role and responsibility commensurate with the benefits that they have realised under global liberalisation," he said.
"We are not going to negotiate against ourselves. It's now time for others to be creative. We have gone far and above what is expected... to break this impasse," he added.
The Doha Round of negotiations began in 2001 and has over-run a number of deadlines for completion. The latest deadline is the end of this year.
Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean said: "There is still too much that remains unresolved."
But he added: "Even if you accept it's not possible to complete it this year, that's no reason not to advance it this year.
Doha Round negotiations have focused on further liberalising world trade by dismantling obstacles to trade for poor nations through an accord that would cut subsidies for agriculture and tariffs on industrial goods.
Discussions have been dogged by discord, including over how much the US and the European Union should reduce aid to their farmers and the extent to which countries such as India and China should lower import tariffs.