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After WTO talks, the 'G-22' group of developing nations focuses on more-open agricultural markets, By Patrick Smith | Special to The Christian Science Monitor
- As the WTO's 148 members brace for their next session, now scheduled for December, it is already clear that the sudden emergence of a coalition of 22 developing nations has turned the negotiating landscape between rich and poor countries into one that more closely resembles a level playing field.
- For now, the Group of 22 intends to remain focused on the opening of global markets for farm products - the issue that divided rich and poor at Cancún and prompted the group to walk out on Sept. 14. Viewed more broadly, however, the "G-22" reflects the increasing assertiveness of developing nations - not only in the WTO but in other multilateral organizations, including the UN.
- "It's too early to tell what the G-22's larger agenda will be, or even if we will have one," says Rubens Barbosa, Brazil's ambassador to Washington and a prime mover behind the group's formation. "But the political, economic, and trade circumstances are different now. There's a new balance of power, and the US and the European Union are finally going to have to face us."