‘EU backing trade offers’

Brussels, November 21:

EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said today that EU member states were now united behind his offers in crunch WTO trade talks despite past reservations from come countries.

“There really was a genuine sense of unity and cohesion amongst member states which I welcome because previously you could see different emphasises being placed on different directions and different parts of the offer we that we made”, he said. Mandelson has faced fierce criticism notably from France for proposing deep cuts in EU farm subsidies and tariffs in talks at the WTO ahead of a key meeting in Hong Kong.

“What the offer has done is succeed in bringing member states together in a common position

of agreement and strength ahead of Hong Kong”, Mandelson said. WTO trade negotiators are racing against the clock to reach a deal for ministers to sign when they meet in Hong Kong from December 13-18. The EU has been fiercely cri-ticised for not going far eno-ugh in talks on agriculture.