The EU and a coalition of developing nations, which clashed recently over contentious farm subsidies, issued a surprise joint statement in Brazil on Friday calling for a speedy resumption of global trade talks.
Officials of 19 of the 20 nations of the so-called G20 coalition, including Brazil, China, India and South Africa, and EU negotiators were wrapping up a two-day summit here Friday ahead of a key WTO meeting in Geneva next week.
The WTO has set a December 15 deadline to relaunch global trade talks that collapsed in Cancun, Mexico, in September amid deep rifts between rich and poor nations.
One factor in that collapse was the emergence of the G20 coalition, which demanded curbs on farm subsidies in exchange for a broader agreement on free trade rules. The G20 countries are all WTO members.
However, Friday's joint communique appeared to signal that the rift has been eased, and that the trade rivals are ready for a fresh round of talks.
"The dialogue proved to be fruitful and positive with both sides explaining their own positions in a business-like manner and acknowledging the importance of this dialogue to achieve progress in the negotiations," the two blocs said in a joint communique.
The statement said there was "general agreement that we need to intensify negotiations early next year" with a view to finalising the Doha round of trade talks by a 2004 WTO deadline.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorin said the statement underlined "the preference for negotiation between the two blocs."
EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, who prior to the communique's release had also struck an upbeat tone, expressed satisfaction with the talks.
"The impression is that the G20 wants to be a force for movement and it is a positive developement," he told reporters.
However, the EU trade commissioner conceded tough negotiations remained, saying, "Discussions were frank open and rather precise, even if the purpose of the meeting was not to negociate."
"The impression I had is that we [the EU and G20] not only want to pursue negociations but also to show some flexibility. If we start where we were [after Cancun] we will not succeed," Lamy said.
He said tough negotiations on market access, domestic support for agriculture and exports now lay ahead.
The EU and the G20 stressed they should "move as quickly as possible into an increased dialogue among all partners to achieve real and substantive progress in line with the Doha mandate and the timeframe defined therein," the statement said.
"The G20 reiterated its disposition to contribute to the success of negotiations and to move into a negotiation mode early next year," it added.
WTO director-general Supachai Panitchpakdi, who also attended the meetings here, said the talks had been "very useful."
"This meeting was indeed a very useful one. I've been encouraged by open and frank discussions," the WTO chief said.
"I hope we'll see more of those disciussions in Geneva and other places once we move back to our negociation process," Panitchpakdi said.
Both blocs agreed to continue pursuing their negotiations after the Brasilia meetings through their Geneva delegations, and at a ministerial level to achieve "a successful and timely completion of the Doha round."
Despite the optimism, some delegates said problems remained outside of the EU, G20 blocs, particularly with the US.
"It's known that the US also poses a problem," French foreign trade minister Francois Loos said.
Loos pointed out that Brazil exports 40 percent of its farm products to Europe and only 10 percent to the US.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also raised the idea of a G20 free trade zone. That was not included in the communique, but Lamy called it an interesting notion.
UNWANTED ATTENTION: In the past two months, the automaker has made headlines, with a Chinese military ban of its vehicles and a protest at an expo Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc, facing scrutiny in China over safety and customer service complaints, is boosting its engagement with regulators and beefing up its government relations team, industry sources said. Tesla’s change of strategy leading to more behind-the-scenes interaction with policymakers in Beijing compared with relatively little previously shows the seriousness with which the US automaker views the setbacks in its second-biggest market. TALKING SHOP It also comes at a time when China is trying to regulate large and powerful private companies, especially in the technology sector, on concerns about their market dominance. As they do elsewhere, regulators in China, the world’s biggest
Chinese electric vehicle (EV) start-up Nio Inc (蔚來) reported a narrower first-quarter loss, while warning that a global chip shortage would keep a lid on deliveries. The Shanghai-based company posted a net loss of 451 million yuan (US$68.8 million) in the three months ended March 31, compared with 1.69 billion yuan a year earlier, it said in a statement. It also marked an improvement on the 1.39 billion yuan net loss it posted in the fourth quarter of last year. Revenue rose to 7.98 billion yuan, beating estimates of 7.16 billion yuan. Nio delivered 20,060 vehicles in the quarter, a 423 percent increase from
Dell Technologies Inc has agreed to sell its Boomi cloud business to private equity firms Francisco Partners and TPG in a cash deal valued at US$4 billion, as part of efforts by chief executive officer Michael Dell to trim down the PC maker. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year, the companies said in a statement on Sunday without providing additional details of the terms. Dow Jones had earlier reported that the companies were near a deal. Boomi specializes in integrating different cloud platforms for companies and has more than 15,000 customers. Dell agreed to acquire the company for
Intel Corp wants 8 billion euros (US$9.7 billion) in public subsidies toward building a semiconductor factory in Europe, chief executive officer Pat Gelsinger was cited as saying on Friday, as the region seeks to reduce its reliance on imports amid a shortage of supplies. The pitch is the first time that Gelsinger has publicly put a figure on how much state aid he would want, as Intel campaigns to take on Asian rivals in contract manufacturing. “What we’re asking from both the US and the European governments is to make it competitive for us to do it here, compared to in Asia,”