WASHINGTON: As India stood firm on not signing the trade facilitation pact, the U.S. warned that walking away from the unanimously agreed Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) would have serious ramifications on the future the Doha Round.
"We are deeply disappointed that backsliding on Trade Facilitation has brought the WTO to the brink of crisis," U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Mike Froman said in a statement, amid indication that the talks has collapsed in Geneva.
"After long and difficult negotiations, Ministers in Bali unanimously agreed last December on a package of agreements, including the TFA and an agreement on food stockpiling, each with its own work program and timetable.
"A decision to walk away from that package would have serious ramifications on the future of the Doha Round," Froman warned.
In a strong message to the WWTO, India today said it will not ratify the trade facilitation pact until a permanent solution is found on food security and other issues of poor nations impacting livelihood of millions.
Froman said dozens of countries, including the G-20, have sought to provide assurances that we are committed to fulfil all elements of the Bali agreement.
"We have backed up those assurances by contributing actively over the last several months to furthering the food stockpiling discussion and by mobilising resources to help developing countries meet their trade facilitation commitments," he added.
Froman noted that once the TFA protocol is adopted, each World Trade Organisation member will have a full year to consider its own domestic decisions regarding ratification of the agreement.
"The current state of play on Trade Facilitation threatens to deal a serious blow to the credibility of the multilateral trading system and to set back the development needs of many countries around the world.
"We will be consulting with other WTO Members on appropriate next steps," Froman said.
The world trade body is scheduled to ratify the TFA till July 31.