By  on July 26, 2007

GENEVA — The U.S. said Wednesday that a draft proposal in the Doha Round of global trade talks to lower tariffs on industrial goods was not far-reaching enough in opening markets and called for steeper cuts by emerging economies.

"We think the paper does not have sufficient ambition," particularly with regard to the 30 or so advanced developing countries that will be applying the tariff-cutting formula, Peter Allgeier, deputy U.S. trade representative, told reporters.

Allgeier was commenting on the plan proposed by Don Stephenson, the Canadian chairman of the industrial market access talks. However, he said the plan was "a reasonable starting point for the negotiations in September."

Allgeier said the tariff range of 19 to 23 percent proposed for emerging countries was too high, countering criticism from a group of major developing countries, including South Africa, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Argentina, that the plan tilted in favor of rich nations.

Other developed nations, including Switzerland, shared the U.S.'s assessment that the proposed tariff range for developing nations "is too high to enhance market access." The same text suggests the final duty for rich nations would be around 8 to 9 percent.

Allgeier said there would be difficulties ahead if major emerging countries used provisions given in the blueprint to shield sectors such as textiles from further market opening by adjusting the tariff formulas.

"On textiles, we will definitely have a problem if major textile exporting developing countries...shelter their own textile and apparel market and then expect us to take full cuts in our products," he said. "We've been clear on this all along, that countries can't have it both ways."

China's World Trade Organization ambassador, Sun Zhenyu, said the gap between the tariffs of developed and developing countries "should be higher" and emphasized that the proposed 8 to 9 percent for developed countries "fails to deliver ambition" and "should be lower than 8 percent in order to enhance market access for developing countries."

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