Sunday, 27 July 2008

Troubled world trade talks show signs of progress

GENEVA: Global trade talks showed signs of progress Friday after crunch negotiations among seven crucial countries and regions, ministers and officials said.In a sudden turnaround suggesting that a week of deadlock was finally breaking, ministers began to talk of a possible success at the World Trade Organization talks."There has been progress made, yes," the EU trade chief, Peter Mandelson, told reporters. He said progress had been made in most areas of the talks, which are focusing on moves to open up trade in agriculture and industrial goods. Asked whether a final deal was in reach, Mandelson replied: "It's possible, it's possible."A WTO spokesman, Keith Rockwell, said new ideas to narrow gaps between rich and poor countries had emerged in five hours of talks on Friday among the seven ministers and would be passed along to a meeting of ministers from 35 countries.Earlier, the WTO director general, Pascal Lamy, had warned that the talks risked collapsing Friday if members failed to narrow their differences, following a day of intransigence Thursday.

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