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WTO Talks in Geneva Collapse


Global commerce talks at the World Trade Organization in Geneva have collapsed, after key governments failed to agree on steps to liberalize trade in agricultural and industrial goods.

Indian Trade MInister Kamal Nath, who announced the suspension, said it could take months or years to restart the talks.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson blamed the collapse on the United States, which he said had been inflexible on calls to reduce government subsidies paid to American farmers.

For their part, U.S. officials blamed Brazil and India for refusing to cut barriers on industrial imports.

The two-day Geneva meeting had been called by W.T.O. chief Pascal Lamy just days after heads of state from the Group of Eight industrialized nations reaffirmed their commitment to a global trade deal at a summit in Russia.

Developing nations want rich countries, including the United States, to cut farm subsidies that make their produce cheaper on world markets.

Washington and the Europeans want emerging economies to open their markets to more Western industrial goods and services.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, Reuters.
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