SYDNEY, Jul 2 (AFP): Australia Sunday blamed a lack of flexibility by major trading nations for the failure to make progress in the latest World Trade Organisation talks aimed at liberalising global commerce.
"We needed to find a way forward on the sticking points of agricultural market access and cuts to the farm subsidies that so distort world trade," Trade Minister Mark Vaile said in a statement.
"Despite intensive discussions with my ministerial colleagues, it is clear that none of the majors arrived in Geneva with the necessary flexibility to make progress."
The talks in Geneva had been billed as a way to revive the stalled Doha Round negotiations on harnessing freer trade to boost growth in poor countries.
But they wound up without a deal Saturday, leaving members of the 149- nation body with a tough task ahead if they are to resolve bitter differences on trade concessions before a looming deadline.
Vaile said the failure of the talks was "all the more frustrating for Australia and its Cairns Group partners as the parameters for an ambitious outcome to these negotiations are clearly in sight."
The 18-member Cairns Group of agricultural exporters includes Australia, Canada, Brazil and smaller developing nations.
It is pressing for significant cuts in tariff barriers on key agricultural good and subsidies paid to farmers in some major developed nations, including the United States and the European Union.
Vaile said Australia was committed to doing whatever was possible in the coming weeks to move the negotiations forward, but cautioned against any attempt to lower the aims of the talks.