Monday, June 28, 2010

China Rebuffs U.S. Trade Criticism

(Reuters – Jonathan Lynn)

China has dismissed U.S. comments that Beijing is blocking a new trade agreement, saying that it was the United States that was stalling progress in the World Trade Organization’s long-running Doha round.

The angry comments, by China’s ambassador to the WTO, indicate how difficult it now is to bridge the gaps in the Doha talks, launched in late 2001, because of differences between the United States and big emerging economies, foremost China.

“Everybody knows what the real reason for the deadlock of the Doha round is and where the main political obstacles come from,” Sun Zhenyu told Reuters on Sunday. “The U.S. is the sole member who insists that we’re still far away from the conclusion of the round. Their new excessive request on an elevated level of ambition is in fact equivalent to a restart of the round and a flagrant deviation from the original negotiation mandates.”

Frustration on both sides has now boiled over into a public war of words, making a deal even harder, a fact recognized by leaders of the G8 countries, who include the United States but not China, when at their summit in Canada on Saturday they dropped a commitment to complete Doha this year and simply renewed a pledge to conclude an agreement. Read more here.