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No breakthrough on WTO talks: EU farm chief

india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 05:16 IST
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EU Farm Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has said that there was no breakthrough at a weekend meeting between global trade partners despite "lots of rumours going round."

"There have been no figures on the table there. The breakthrough that some had previewed, had forecast, obviously did not happen," she said after she spoke to EU agriculture ministers on Monday.

World Trade Organization negotiations for a new global deal to open up trade, intended to lift millions out of poverty, stalled last July as the US and the EU rowed over subsidies they give their farmers.

Representatives of the United States, the European Union, India, Brazil and almost two dozen other countries met at Davos, Switzerland on Saturday for the first time since talks were suspended.

In a statement they "expressed a strong wish for a quick resumption of full-scale activity." But it is unclear how far they will actually go to restart talks.

Fischer Boel said she sees a "small window of opportunity."

"I would think that within the next two months it would be crucial that we could agree on a breakthrough of negotiations," she told reporters.

Another six months would be needed to work out the details, she said.

She reiterated that the EU was willing to improve its offer on cutting farm tariffs, but only if reciprocal moves were made by others in return.

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