As recriminations began, the head of World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, warned that the wrangling among the organisation's leading members had allowed a package worth more than $130bn (£65bn) a year in tariff savings to 'slip through their fingers'. Clinching a deal would have provided a powerful vote of confidence in globalisation from the WTO's 153 members, in the face of the world economic slowdown. But after 9 gruelling days, Lamy was forced to accept that the US, China and India were still too far apart for a deal.
The US trade representative, Susan Schwab, said it was 'unconscionable' that developing countries were insisting on shielding their farmers. "In the face of the food price crisis, it's ironic that the debate came down to how much and how fast could nations raise their barriers to imports of food."
She suggested that if India and China had got their way "we could have come out with an outcome that rolled the global trading system back three years, or five years, or 30 years: 30 years of progress."
Kamal Nath, India's trade minister, said he was representing the position of all the G33 members, who were 'concerned about the livelihood of poor and subsistence farmers', and said he hoped the talks could eventually be revived.