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G4 Ministerial Talks Collapse

Efforts to revive the stalled Doha Round by the so-called Group of Four, or G 4, consisting of the United States, the European Union, Brazil and India, collapsed on Thursday, June 21st, because of the inability of the ministers meeting in Potsdam, Germany to bridge their difference on tariffs for non-agricultural goods (NAMA).  Specifically, Brazil rejected a U.S. proposal that would have capped the maximum tariff on industrial goods for developing countries at 25% by the end of a Doha Round implementation period, and set a maximum tariff of 10% for the U.S. and all other developed countries.

In a June 21 press conference with U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and Secretary Mike Johanns, Mr. Johanns said the NAMA numbers that Brazil and India were pushing for were “out of the realm of possibility.”  Johanns added “We had two countries, India and Brazil, who I don’t believe really chose to negotiate.  They adopted that attitude from the beginning and it cast a chill over the entire week of discussions.”