Cancun Collapse Is Opportunity Missed

Sep 16, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Associations representing retailers and manufacturers are expressing disappointment at the collapse of the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico.

The talks were broken off Monday by the Group of 21, representing developing nations. The group claimed developed countries were not offering sufficient concessions on agricultural subsidies.

Developed nations claimed that developing countries were not willing to take concrete action on opening access to markets.

The International Mass Retail Association’s (IMRA) president Sandy Kennedy said, “The real loser in this breakdown is the consumer. IMRA applauds U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert B. Zoellick and his team for their continued leadership in Cancun and willingness to negotiate.”

The Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) were at the talks in Cancun as a recognized non-governmental organization. The association was on hand to provide U.S. negotiators with information on the impact trade agreements would have on the sales of processed foods and beverages.

Sarah Thorn, director of international trade, GMA said, “We are disappointed that the negotiators were unable to come to any agreement on how to advance the Doha Agenda of increasing market access and lowering barriers to trade for all WTO members.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the recent World Trade Organization meeting?

Free trade is nothing more than a myth and it will probably never be anything other than that. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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