The G-20 group of developing nations, including India, will attempt to help revive the World Trade Organisation talks for a global trade treaty at a meeting in September in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim has said.
WTO negotiations had collapsed in Geneva over disagreements on farm subsidies in rich nations and market access in developing countries.
The 21 member nations of the G-20 have about 60 per cent of the world's population and are responsible for about 21 per cent of the planet's agricultural exports.
Trade ministers set a tentative schedule for the new meetings to be held on September 9-10. Then heads of state from India and South Africa will travel to Brasilia for a September-13 summit hosted by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Amorim announced the G-20 meeting four days after he met US Trade Representative Susan Schwab in Rio. Both said that the WTO talks could be saved if trade ministers hold intensive meetings in the coming weeks.
Speaking to Brazilian lawmakers, Amorim said that regional and bilateral trade deals won't work as a substitute to a deal involving the 149-nation WTO.
"There isn't any alternative to the WTO," he said. "If the WTO doesn't work out, the damage will be severe, not only for Brazil, but for everyone, and would serve as a signal to the world of the breakdown of the multilateral system.