People have not been shy about assigning blame for the failure of the Doha talks. The G-6 WTO Members who met in an effort to get things moving were Australia, Brazil, the EU, India, Japan and the U.S. Most are blaming the U.S., while the U.S. is pointing mainly to the EU. Here's a brief rundown of what some of the key players from each country have said about the apparent collapse of the talks:
United States: Susan Schwab "accused the EU and others of "pocketing" an offer the United States made last year to reduce farm subsidies and pushing for deeper U.S. cuts without offering significant new market access in return." Schwab also said "aside from Australia, none of the other players had come up with enhanced offers to open up their markets to foreign goods." Senate finance committee chairman Chuck Grassley said that as long as the EU and India "wear their blinders, we'll never see eye to eye on a good trade deal, and poorer countries will pay the highest price". Bill Thomas, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives, said the EU had "made a mockery" of the Doha negotiations.
European Union: Peter Mandelson "accused the United States of "stone-walling" by refusing to offer deeper cuts in U.S. trade-distorting domestic farm subsidies, which now total about $20 billion annually."
Brazil: Celso Amorim said the main deal-breaker was the demand for cuts in subsidies to agriculture, where "it was up to the United States to make the gesture. ... It is a pity that we have not managed to move forward, in part due to the US refusal to eliminate domestic (farm) subsidies, ..."
India: Kamal Nath, without naming the United States, said in a statement that “...unfortunately one member is unable to make any effective reduction in trade distorting subsidies, but at the same time, is insisting that developing countries open up their markets to provide access to their subsidised products.”
I couldn't find any comment by a Japanese official indicating who was to blame, but one article said that Japan was among the countries blaming the U.S. As for Australia, I didn't see them blame anyone in particular, and no one seemed to blame them.
Trade negotiations are not my area of expertise, so I don't have much of an opinion on this. But if anyone else does, feel free to comment. (Note that you can comment anonymously if you have something to say but don't want people to know it was you who said it).
UPDATE: Alan Beattie of the Financial Times spreads the blame around nicely (and the rest of the article is worth a read, too):
The European Union should have offered deeper cuts in farm tariffs. The US should have signalled compromise on farm subsidies earlier, and should not have changed trade representative mid-stream. India and other developing countries should not have insisted on huge loopholes in their tariff reductions.
The price the EU paid for pacifying the French-led rebellion of agrarian member states was making a pretty weak, though skilfully spun, offer to cut farm tariffs. The Indian government, acutely aware that its predecessor lost an electionby ignoring the villages, pandered shamelessly to its protectionist farmers and seemed almost gleeful when the talks broke up.
The US trade representative maintained complete harmony with Capitol Hill throughout, but only by promising farmers new agricultural export markets that they were unlikely to get.