Brazil: WTO Proposals Have 'Problems'

Draft proposes greater tariff cuts for manufacturing than agriculture; Brazil seeks balanced cuts.

GENEVA (AP) - Brazil's foreign minister expressed disappointment Wednesday with compromise proposals by the World Trade Organization's top agriculture and manufacturing mediators for leaning too far in the direction of the world's richest nations.

The draft agreements for liberalizing farm and industrial markets released Tuesday called on the United States to reduce its trade-distorting agricultural subsidies to a level between US$13 billion and US$16.4 billion (euro9.4 billion and euro11.9 billion).

But they also demanded greater concessions from major developing countries such as Brazil, China and India in terms of opening up their industrial markets.

''The papers have problems,'' Amorim told journalists in Brussels, Belgium, after meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson. Amorim said Brazil was still studying the proposals, but they appeared to demand greater tariff cuts in manufacturing than in agriculture. A balance would be preferable, he said.

The global trade talks known as the Doha round aim to add billions of dollars to the world economy and help poorer countries develop their economies through new trade flows. But negotiations have struggled since their inception six years ago in Qatar's capital, largely because of wrangling between rich and poor countries over eliminating barriers to farm trade and, more recently, manufacturing trade.

Brazil and India have criticized the United States for its failure to offer deep enough cuts in the subsidies, which critics claim unfairly deflate international prices, making it impossible for poorer nations to develop their economies by selling farm produce abroad.

Washington and Brussels blamed the two developing countries for failing make serious offers to open up their industrial markets when talks among the four collapsed last month in Germany.

The entire 150-member trade body will start new negotiations based on the two documents next week in Geneva, where Amorim travels on Thursday to meet with delegates and WTO chief Pascal Lamy.

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