There will be no conclusion of the Doha round trade talks in 2011, South African trade minister Rob Davies said on Monday, dealing a blow to hopes of wrapping up the decade-long negotiations before US elections in 2012.
"There is now a recognition that the 2011 window of opportunity to conclude the round is closed - that there will be no conclusion to the Doha round in 2011," Davies said.
Big differences between developing and developed countries have bedevilled the talks aimed at liberalising global trade. Launched in late 2001 in the Qatari capital, the current round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations has seen deadlines for progress come and go.
The talks have stalled over attempts to cut rich-country farm subsidies and reduce tariffs on manufactured and agricultural goods.
Former WTO director-general Peter Sutherland said last week that the end of 2011 was the final deadline for the round, launched a decade ago in Qatar with the goal of helping poor countries prosper through trade.