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EU trade chief preaches unity for successful Doha Round

EU trade chief preaches unity for successful Doha Round

   With the next World Trade Organization Doha Round negotiations in Hong Kong just 12 weeks away, European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson warned that both the EU and United States “need to move from standoff to tradeoff in moving the Round forward.”

   Collaboration between the EU and United States will be essential in removing contentious agricultural and other industrial trade protections, Mandelson told reporters in Washington Tuesday.

   “It is a delicate problem,” he said. “The rest of the (WTO) membership both demands and distrusts transatlantic deal making of this kind. And the world is more complex, with major emerging trading blocks now having to shoulder a much greater part of the political effort.”

   Both sides are fighting strong domestic farm lobbies to preserve tariffs for agricultural goods and to prevent the elimination of export subsidies.

   Mandelson is in Washington this week with Mariann Fischer Boel, EU commissioner for agriculture and rural development, meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns to strengthen the joint U.S.-EU position on Doha.

   “We should not be in the business of pre-cooking and imposing outcomes,” Mandelson said. “But it is essential that we work to build common or coordinated policy reforms. If we cannot agree on basic approaches then nothing will happen. It’s as simple as that.”

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