WTO Trade Officials Meet in China

CHINA - Trade officials from the United States, China, the European Union and 27 other countries are looking for progress on liberalizing trade in services and farm goods as they meet this week to prepare for a key conference in Hong Kong in December.

Host China is hoping to reach a timeframe for eliminating agricultural export subsidies, with 2010 as the target date, Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said Tuesday.

"If we can make even small progress, I think it would be a contribution," Bo told World Trade Organization director-general Supachai Panitchpakdi during talks on the conference's fringes.

The two-day meeting in this northeastern Chinese port city began with a gathering of the Group of 20 _ poorer WTO members that are pressing Europe for access to its markets for farm goods, backed by Australia and other big agricultural exporters.

The group will try to build on a compromise agreement reached in May that broke a deadlock on agriculture tariffs and lifted a serious obstacle to a much-delayed global trade deal.

The agreement guaranteed increased access to the EU's most sensitive farm goods markets, which could mean more competition for European beef, poultry and dairy farmers.

Source: North County Times
calendar icon 12 July 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
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