Brussels, April 4:
EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson voiced high hopes today for progress in crunch WTO talks with ministers from the Brazil, India and the US later this month in New Delhi.
â€œThese talks are timely and important. If we are to use the remaining window of opportunity open to us, we need to intensify and accelerate the process of negotiation,â€ Mandelson said. â€œIf we fail, Dohaâ€™s prospects for this year will be lost,â€ he added Ministers from four key trading powers in the WTO will meet in New Delhi on April 11 and 12 to try to try to broker a deal on opening up farm trade as part of the so-called Doha round of free-trade negotiations.
Last month diplomats in Geneva said the minist-ers would focus on agric-ulture in bilateral meetin-gs and possibly in four-w-ay talks.
Ministers from Australia and Japan were expected to join them.Together the six countries represent most of the conflicting interests in the troubled five-year round of negotiations on agriculture: rich and poor natio-ns, economies that rely heavily on farm subsidies, major farm exporters and net importers.
The deadlock over attempts to cut subsidies and import tariffs on farm products is regarded as a major stumbling block in the Doha round of talks on expanding free and fair trade, which also covers industrial goods and services.