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Merkel Sees Urgent Need for Doha Trade Progress

European Union president Germany vowed on Thursday to push ahead with efforts to get a deal on world trade this year, stressing the need for an agreement was urgent.

"We will put a massive effort into getting a successful conclusion to the Doha round," Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech to the German parliament, adding greater liberalisation of world trade would benefit EU members and developing nations.

"There is a great urgency to make progress on this," she said.

The World Trade Organisation's Doha round of negotiations, launched more than five years ago to boost commerce and ease poverty, was revived last month after being suspended last year.

But recent meetings between the biggest of the WTO's 150 members have yielded little visible progress.

Merkel also said she wanted to work towards closer trade ties with the United States.

"We want to expand our efforts on world trade -- I say expand on purpose as sometimes there is some confusion about this -- through a closer transatlantic economic partnership," Merkel said.

"This is about things like greater harmonisation of regulations," she said.

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