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Developed WTO Members Urged to Make Concessions on Agriculture

China on Wednesday called on the developed members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make substantial concessions on the agricultural issues during the new round of multi-lateral trade talks held in the Mexican resort.


"The current stalemate (on agriculture) can not be broken nor can the overall negotiations be pushed forward unless developed members with high subsidy, high support and high tariffs make major and substantial reduction commitments," said Lu Fuyuan, head of the Chinese delegation in a speech at the 5th WTO ministerial conference from Sept. 10 to 14.


Lu, China's trade minister, said tariffs must also be substantially reduced for non-agricultural market access (NAMA).


"We hold that NAMA negotiations should aim to substantially reduce tariff peaks and eliminate tariff escalation and should observe the principle of 'less than full reciprocity' to genuinely safeguard the interests of members whose economy are at the level of developing countries," Lu said.


The Chinese minister also stressed that the specific circumstances in developing countries should be taken into consideration in the new round.


The new round of multi-lateral trade talks was launched at the Doha round in 2001. Trade ministers from the 146 WTO members are expected to reach agreements on lowering global trade barriers, including farm subsidies, during the talks.


(Xinhua News Agency September 11, 2003)


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