WTO talks fail to clinch deal on trillion dollar IT tariff cuts

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2014 11:12 AM

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) - Talks on cutting trade tariffs on hundreds of information technology goods failed to reach agreement on Friday, diplomats at the World Trade Organization (WTO) said.

"We don't have a deal," one trade ambassador told Reuters as he entered the closed-door meeting.

Several diplomats said they were disappointed at the failure of a reform potentially worth a trillion dollars, and that they would now take stock before deciding how to take the talks forward, possibly with further talks next year.

However, it was unclear how further talks would overcome the obstacle of China and South Korea's deadlock over liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, which several participants had identified as the main hurdle to a deal.

South Korea, home to top LCD producer LG Display Co Ltd, wanted LCD screens to be one of the products to have its tariffs slashed by the deal, they said. But China, which wants to foster its own LCD industry, had steadfastly refused.

Although Friday's deadline for finishing the negotiation was an artificially imposed one, the U.S. ambassador to the WTO, Michael Punke, had said the talks' "success or failure" would be decided this week. His European Union counterpart, Angelos Pangratis, had said: "Later it will not be easier ... Now is the moment."

(Reporting by Tom Miles Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)