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August 26, 2008

Indonesia wants to revive failed WTO talks

Indonesia has called on Brazil, China and India to help revive the stalled Doha Round of trade talks at a meeting in September, AFP quoted  a spokesman for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as saying Monday.

Yudhoyono has contacted President Lula da Silva of Brazil, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to underline his concern at the failure of the ministerial-level World Trade Organization talks in July.

"In these three communications ... the president expressed his concern at the latest developments in the Doha Round," spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said.

"He called on these leaders not to give up and to push for discussions to begin again, the president hopes in September.

"The president is very concerned about this issue because if discussions fail, the effects on the world economy and developing nations, for Indonesia, will be bad."

It was not clear what form of meeting Yudhoyono was proposing or where, but Washington has also said it supports holding talks with a small number of countries in September to explore ways to restart the world trade talks.

US trade negotiator Susan Schwab said ahead of talks last week with WTO chief Pascal Lamy that the meeting could "clear the way, conceivably, for another round of ministerial engagement."

The US trade negotiator suggested talks could start among a "small group" of senior officials from "those countries in leadership roles."

The Geneva ministerial meeting ran aground after India and the US failed to agree over a special safeguard mechanism that would allow nations to impose a special tariff on agricultural goods if imports surge or prices fall.

Washington rejected Indian proposals that developing nations should be allowed to boost duties by an additional 25 percent on farm products if imports surged by 15 percent.

Washington insisted extra duties should be allowed only if imports rose by 40 percent.

Brazil has also been pushing to revive the talks and India has said it would like to return to the negotiating table if the United States signals that the impasse can be overcome.

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