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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 23:15 GMT 00:15 UK
Trade talks set for fresh hold-up
Outgoing WTO director general Supachai Panitchpakdi
Supachai Panitchpakdi says the deal is in jeopardy
Negotiators are set to miss yet another deadline in their attempt to reach a new world trade deal.

The deal is already some two years behind schedule, and the World Trade Organization is hoping for results at a make-or-break meeting in December.

But there seems little prospect of a draft emanating from the current talks.

Developing countries say richer states are still pushing them too hard for concessions in what was originally billed as a "development round".

India has been one of the main critics.

"What we are seeing now is developed countries saying: tell us what we will get, and then we will tell you what we will give you," Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath told Reuters news agency.

Other countries have singled out the US, the European Union and Japan for refusing to open their agricultural markets and lessen high subsidies paid to farmers.

Opening up

But the rich states say they are moving in the right direction, and need more market access to be granted by the bigger developing states such as India, China and Brazil.

Barley
Agriculture has been a key sticking-point throughout negotiations

"The more advanced developing countries will need to make significant contributions on market access," said Deputy US Trade Representative Peter Allgeier.

The continuing deadlock is widely recognised as counter-productive, even fatal for the talks.

Outgoing WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi said that without a rapid breakthrough in the current talks, the whole round would be "put in jeopardy".

And Peter Mandelson - successor as EU trade chief to Pascal Lamy, who takes over from Mr Panitchpakdi as WTO boss later this year - said the "logjam" needed to be broken.

"We cannot go on as we are with any reasonable chance of success," he told reporters.


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