Disagreement over Iraq will hurt world economy

Posted: Thursday, April 03, 2003

U.S. antagonism with France and Germany over the war on Iraq is beginning to adversely affect global economic talks.

The World Trade Organization has abandoned its plan to reach a broad consensus about proposed cuts in tariffs on agricultural products by Monday. Efforts to promote freer farm trade have been the major focus of the new round of WTO talks.

The WTO's failure to meet the deadline is due to differences of opinion between exporters of farm products, including the United States and Australia -- which are seeking to export more agricultural goods -- and a second group, including Japan and France, that want to protect their domestic agricultural industries.

The disagreement among major nations over Iraq could adversely affect not only the ongoing WTO talks but other global economic meetings.

The U.S.-led war in Iraq has shaken the global money and financial market, causing a continued rise in crude oil prices. The war, if protracted, could trigger a global depression.

-- Yomiuri Shimbun (Tokyo)

March 31

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