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Finger Pointing Begins in Wake of WTO Talks Collapse


Japan and China are expressing bitter disappointment over the collapse of Word Trade Organization talks in Geneva.

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda called the breakdown in negotiations "extremely regrettable" in a statement released Wednesday from Tokyo.

Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming described the collapse as a tragic failure. He blamed the impasse on the inability of two countries to compromise over a mechanism he says would have protected poor farmers. He did not specify the two countries.

The talks broke down Tuesday when negotiators were unable to reach a compromise on agricultural import rules.

Delegates say the United States and developing nations such as China and India were unable to agree on measures to protect farmers in emerging economies.

The measures would have imposed tariffs to protect farmers in case of a sudden surge in goods on the market or a drop in prices.

Earlier, China and India had accused the United States of refusing to negotiate on the issue, while U.S. officials accused them of backing out of an earlier agreement.

French Agricultural Minister Michel Fournier says large emerging nations, including China and India, stood in the way of reaching a balanced accord. And Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura called on the two developing economies to live up to their responsibilities to the overall global economy.

The current negotiations, known as the Doha Round, have made little progress towards a world trade pact since they were launched in 2001.

Emerging nations have demanded wealthy countries reduce agricultural subsidies which they say give farmers in developed countries an unfair advantage in an open market.

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


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