Even though trade chiefs insist a deal is still possible, last week’s collapse in negotiations among four key World Trade Organization governments over a new global trade agreement may spell the end of the Doha Round of talks.

Trade and agriculture ministers from the U.S., the European Union, India and Brazil began what was to be almost a week of talks on June 19, in Potsdam, Germany, aiming to reach a breakthrough on slashing agriculture subsidies and lowering hurdles for goods crossing borders.

The breakdown mirrors last July's collapse, when negotiations among the four governments plus Japan and Australia disintegrated, prompting WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy to suspend discussions. Without a deal among the four governments, the Doha Round that began in late 2001 and has yet to meet any deadlines may fail or be put on hold for years because of elections and ensuing policy changes in the U.S. and India.

While government trade representatives involved in the talks expressed optimism that they could come to an agreement, U.S. Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter says negotiators are now battling the clock and may simply run out of time to get a deal.

“They may have another 30 days to piece things together, but that's all,” he says.

Source: Bloomberg.com/news report