30 July 2008

Collapse at WTO gravely undermines Africa: minister

GENEVA (AFP) - The breakdown of talks on a world trade pact has "gravely undermined" efforts by African countries to fight poverty, Kenya's trade minister warned on Wednesday.
"Africa's opportunity to achieve fair trade has... been gravely undermined by the lack of progress in these negotiations," the minister, Uhuru Kenyatta, told a news conference, speaking on behalf of a grouping of African countries at the World Trade Organization talks here.

"Africa critically needs to realise development and get itself out of poverty through the establishment of fair trade rather than aid," he said.

"Most of the key issues of interest to the African continent were not even discussed, especially the issue of cotton."

WTO Director-General announced on Tuesday that the latest negotiations for a much-delayed trade liberalisation deal under the so-called Doha Round had broken down after nine days due to unresolved differences.

Delegates said the deaddlock centred on a row between the United States and India over special tariff measures to protect poor farmers from surging imports or price falls.

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