Kyoto, November 15:

US president George W Bush today hailed British premier Tony Blair’s call for renewed efforts to revive difficult free trade talks and promote economic development. “I welcome and endorse his call for action to ensure a successful outcome” to Doha Round of WTO talks, Bush said. “All WTO members will have to do the-ir part,” if next mo-nth’s WT-O meeting is to be a success, he said, adding that freer trade could “lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” Developing nations have argued that the chief obstacle to the talks is the level of agricultural subsidies in the US and the EU, as well as barriers to farm imports.

But Bush said that, if the US and the EU make “real cuts to agricultural subsidies and tariffs,” then poorer nations will have to “come forward with significant proposals to cut tariffs and reduce barriers on manufactured goods and services. Trade is the engine for a sustained expansion of prosperity around the world,” Bush said.

Finger pointing

Strasbourge: EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson lam-ented ‘finger-pointing’ by Asian leaders over Europe’s attitude in tr-ade talks and reepeated that the EU did not plan to make a new offer on farm aid. — AFP