Nearly 140 developing countries yesterday issued a statement calling on the European Union and the United States to stop subsidising their farmers and urging industrialised countries to open up their textile markets.

In a statement ahead of next month's World Trade Organisation (WTO)ministerial conference, the signatories suggested that a new round of global trade liberalisation negotiations - championed by the big powers as a way out of the current economic downturn - was not necessary.

"We recognise the crucial importance of the rules-based multilateral trading system and of the transparent decision- making process in the WTO for managing globalisation and reducing the scope for unilateral actions," they said.

But addressing the problems they faced "should receive primacy in all future work programmes in the WTO since the key to sustained global economic growth lies in unlocking the potential growth of developing countries"

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