U.S. News

Trade Powers Must Agree on Core WTO Deal Soon-EU


Leading trading nations urgently need to reach a deal on agriculture and other issues to allow a broader World Trade Organisation pact which risks running out of time, Europe's trade chief said on Friday.

Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said the European Union, United States, India and Brazil had made progress on the framework of an agriculture deal but had to do likewise on industrial goods and services too.

"We need to see headline cuts falling into place, plugging the big numbers for agricultural and non-agricultural tariffs, farm subsidy cuts into the framework we have agreed," he told business leaders in a speech in Brussels.

"We need to see those numbers as a matter of urgency to enable us to collectivise what is on the table and prepare texts for multilateral agreement by the WTO membership as a whole," Mandelson said.

The WTO launched its Doha round of negotiations in 2001 to cut barriers to trade around the world as a way to lift millions of people out of poverty and boost the global economy.

But it risks further long delays or even collapse if an agreement cannot be reached soon, top trade officials say.

The EU, the United States, Brazil and India have intensified their efforts in recent weeks to strike a deal on agriculture, the main sticking point so far in the negotiations, as well as on industrial goods and services.