BELGIUM: Mandelson wants WTO talks to reciprocate EU efforts
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said Europe "cannot give for nothing in return", regarding this week's talks on the World Trade Organization Doha negotiations.
Trade negotiators from the EU, the US, Brazil, India, Japan and Australia are meeting in London for two days with the intention of pushing forward the ongoing negotiations toward concluding some key issues by the end of April.
The talks, which start tomorrow (10 March), will cover all main areas: agriculture, industrial goods, services, trade facilitation and other world trade rules.
Mandelson said: "I am convening this meeting to try and narrow some differences between some key players. We came out of Hong Kong with a pretty clear idea of what we have to address and how we have to read across the whole understanding, but without an agreed level of ambition.
"Progress does not depend on unilateral moves by particular players but on what everyone can put into the mix together. I have a fairly good idea of where Europe can end up eventually but moving the EU will really depend not just on our red lines but the overall balance."
The EU will continue to push others to match its offer made in October 2005, which proposed the steepest farm support and agricultural tariff cuts ever offered by the EU in a multilateral trade round, with equivalent moves, especially in the crucial areas of trade industrial goods and services.
At the December 2005 Hong Kong WTO Ministerial Meeting, negotiators agreed to try to achieve broad agreement on tariff and subsidy reductions for both agriculture and industrial goods by the end of April 2006 while demonstrating progress in other key areas of the Round. This would allow negotiators to use the remainder of 2006 to agree detail and ensure that the Doha Round could be successfully concluded at the end of 2006 or early in 2007.
Although these meetings have been constructive, there is an imbalance in talks across all sectors, the EU believes.
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