A Breakthrough In Trade Talks?

Efforts to unblock stalled multilateral trade talks received a boost with a surprise May 10 offer by the European Union to do away with billions of dollars in agricultural export subsidies. The offer, made in a letter from top EU trade official Pascal Lamy to the 147 members of the World Trade Organization, could pave the way for a WTO deal on ag subsidies in July. U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick has been pushing for such an agreement.

Sharp differences over agricultural subsidies, which developing countries argue do their economies enormous damage, were behind the breakdown of WTO talks in Cancún last September. But Lamy will have to win over France, which is a big beneficiary of EU farm aid and fiercely opposes his proposal.

Edited by Rose Brady

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