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India's blocking of WTO deal triggers harsh criticism

Frustration and disappointment have set in hours after a slated major global WTO trade reform pact collapsed. India stuck to its demands for concessions that were not accepted by other member states of the world body.

A number of WTO member states voiced frustration on Friday after India's demands for larger concessions on agricultural stockpiling prevented a first major trade reform pact in two decades from becoming a reality.

Ministers had already agreed on the reform of customs procedures in Bali, Indonesia, last December, but were unable to overcome

last-minute Indian objections

on Thursday night.

"We've not been able to find a solution that would allow us to bridge the gap," WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said in a statement in Geneva.

Spirits dampened

According to trade experts, a deal would have added $1 trillion (746.9 billion euros) and 21 million jobs to the world economy.

"This failure is a great blow to the confidence revived in Bali," Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said Friday. "There are no winners from this outcome, least of all those in developing countries, which would see the biggest gains."

There's now a growing perception that the Doha process may be ended as some WTO member states are expected to press ahead with plurilateral reforms, leaving behind those which don't want to come along.

hg/ng (Reuters, dpa)

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