During a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson today (5 September) said that this weekend’s G20 Summit in Rio offered the first opportunity to review the WTO’s Doha Round trade negotiations since the talks collapsed in June.

The G20 Summit would allow ministers to “review what happened in Geneva, to discuss positions and to assess the possibility of moving forward,” Mandelson told MEPs.

Mandelson was highly critical of those who dismissed the package on the table in June as “Doha Lite”, stressing that the EU had been willing to sanction “the steepest farm tariff cuts ever accepted as part of a multilateral trade negotiation” and slash trade-distorting farm subsidies.

The EU Trade Commissioner expressed his regret that the stand-off in agriculture had prevented talks progressing to industrial goods and services. 

Mandelson underlined the EU’s commitment to Doha, stating that to EU trade policy Doha “will remain paramount; nothing can replace the WTO…Bilateral and regional deals are not an alternative for multilateral negotiations, but rather an add on, a complement”.