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Last Updated: Monday, 17 July 2006, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
G8 leaders seek trade talks push
Pascal Lamy
WTO director general Pascal Lamy joined the talks
Leaders of the G8 nations have asked counterparts from developing countries to help them push through for a breakthrough on stalled trade talks.

Leaders from Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa took part in talks on the final day of the G8 summit in the Russian city of St Petersburg.

G8 leaders have given World Trade Organization (WTO) members one month to revive the Doha round of trade talks.

Tony Blair said he was pleased with progress made in the discussions.

Loggerheads

The developing nations represented are key players in the so-called G20 group.

WTO director Pascal Lamy also attended the meeting which focused on the removal of trade barriers.

US trade representative Susan Schwab is set to go to the WTO's headquarters in Geneva at the end of the summit to push for a "robust" round of talks.

The Doha negotiations, launched in 2001, have hit problems over tariffs and subsidies.

The EU and US have been at loggerheads over agriculture.

G8 SUMMIT: 15-17 JULY
The world's seven richest nations - the US, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada have met annually since 1975
Russia joined in 1998, turning the G7 into the G8
2006 summit being held in St Petersburg - the first time Russia has hosted the G8
Energy security, infectious diseases and education are on Russia's agenda
Mid-East crisis, Iran, North Korea, and international terrorism are also likely to be discussed

The US has criticised EU plans to cut tariffs on farm imports as inadequate, while the EU has said the US is not doing enough to cut farm subsidies.

Developing countries agree with both these criticisms.

Meanwhile, the US, the EU and others have urged big emerging economies, especially India and Brazil, to do more to open their markets to industrial imports.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Sunday that there was agreement on the new "ambitious goal" of reviving the WTO talks.

He added: "It shows they (G8) are aware of the importance of this trade round."

'Action needed'

"We welcome the decision to ask the WTO director general to consult members intensively in order to promote early agreement," a G8 statement said following the announcement.

"[We] call upon him to report to the WTO membership as soon as possible with the aim of facilitating agreement on negotiating modalities on agriculture and industrial tariffs within a month," it continued.

A spokesman for Mr Barroso explained that "modalities" meant G8 leaders had ordered their WTO negotiators to reach "broad agreement on key figures" as a way of carrying the trade talks forward.

A year from now the US president's special authority to negotiate trade deals will expire.

After that it will be harder to get congressional approval, and if the US cannot deliver on whatever its negotiators might agree, other countries will not want to either.




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