Tuesday, 22 July 2008

EU to slash farm tariffs to help global trade talks

GENEVA: The European Union began crucial global trade talks on Monday with an offer of reducing its farm tariffs by 60 percent - the highest figure it has yet offered - in a challenge to developing countries to make concessions.
The offer from the European trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, aimed to kick-start several days of vital discussions on the stalled Doha trade round, which was started seven years ago.
Until now, the EU has offered a maximum of 54 percent tariff reductions, but Mandelson's spokesman, Peter Power, said the higher figure could be achieved by including a range of tropical products.
It remained unclear whether the EU's intervention would break the overall stalemate in the talks because the basic shape of the European offer remains the same.
The talks this week in Geneva are seen as the last chance to achieve a global deal to liberalize trade in the near future. With presidential elections looming in the United States and the EU due to change its trade negotiator next year, a breakthrough this week is seen as essential to any hopes of a swift agreement.



No comments: