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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
China urges trade talks revival
Chinese farmer tends his orange crop
Beijing says it has fulfilled its own obligations to cut farm tariffs
China has called on the US and the European Union to make fresh concessions to help revive stalled global trade talks.

In talks with top trade official Pascal Lamy, Chinese ministers called for "an early resumption" of the Doha round, which has been suspended since July.

Beijing said that wealthier nations should give a lead by offering further reductions in tariffs and subsidies.

China said it had "earnestly" stuck by its own multilateral trade commitments.

'Constructive role'

China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) five years ago but has since generally taken a backseat role in protracted discussions over a new global trade treaty.

Talks on completing the so-called Doha round - intended to remove trade barriers and increase developing countries' share of global trade - broke down after the US, EU and other countries such as Brazil and India were unable to reach agreement on key issues such as farm tariffs.

At present, we need the developed members to take the lead in making substantial concessions
Bo Xilai, Chinese commerce minister

After meeting Mr Lamy, the WTO's director general, Chinese commerce minister Bo Xilai said Beijing hoped to play a "constructive" role in getting the talks back on track.

But he said the onus was on the US and the EU to revive the talks.

"At present, we need the developed members to take the lead in making substantial concessions in order to create conditions for the quick resumption of the negotiations," he said.

"Only by changing the unbalanced situation between the developed and developing members can we advance the sustained and healthy development of global trade."

China cut tariffs on imports of food and other agricultural produce after joining the WTO in 2001 and Mr Bo said it had fulfilled other obligations such as opening its services sector to foreign companies.

Mr Lamy said China had been an "active participant" in the Doha round and urged it to play "an even bigger role" in the future as the WTO's 149 members seek to resume negotiations later this year.

Indian deal

Separately, British Conservative party leader David Cameron has called on the EU to consider establishing a free trade agreement with India if the Doha talks are not concluded successfully next year.

Mr Cameron, who is on a four-day visit to India, said an agreement could be central to an enhanced relationship between India and Britain.

"We must try to restart the Doha round," he told business leaders in Mumbai.

"But if we cannot get a breakthrough, we should consider the possibility of an EU/India free trade agreement."


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