I know you have all been waiting breathlessly for the action-packed thrill-a-minute reports from the Doha-ha-ha Round of Eternal Bickering. But I actually think those paid-by-the-hour negotiators have budged slightly forward.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks (besides us, of course) has been the unyielding position on ag subsidies by India and Brazil. To my surprise at least, Indian officials are using a figure for US reductions that is within reason compared to current US proposals.
India can accept the recent WTO draft on agriculture as a basis for further talks in the Doha Round, but proposals on industrial goods were "fundamentally flawed and essentially biased", a senior government official said Thursday.
The WTO mediators also proposed that US farm subsidies be capped at $16.4 billion, compared to the $17 billion Washington has offered. The EU would have to cut its farm import tariffs by about 64 per cent. [More]
India has been extremely protective of her ag sector, but perhaps growing pressure from 1) the exploding economic clout of Indian high tech and service industry and 2) concerns that trade gridlock could spill over into tougher immigration for Indian immigrants to America has pushed Indian politicos to more ag flexibility.