Trade ministers of the five BRICS nations gave no sign on Wednesday of being ready to make concessions to break a deadlock in decade-old talks to free up global commerce.
The Doha Round, being conducted under the umbrella of the World Trade Organisation, has made little progress since coming tantalisingly close to a breakthrough in 2008.
Among the main reasons for failure then were the refusal of the US and other rich countries to reduce farm subsidies further, and the rejection by developing countries, led by India, to increase Western access to their markets for goods and services.
Meeting on the eve of a BRICS summit on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, trade ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa sounded pessimistic about the prospects for the talks.
“The delicate balance of trade-offs achieved over 10 years of negotiations and contained in the draft July 2008 texts risks being upset,” the ministers said in a media statement.
The BRICS suggested the onus was on the West to climb down. “Ministers remain willing to conclude the round on the basis of those draft modalities,” they said in the draft statement.