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WTO Chief Embarks on 4-day China Visit
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Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Pascal Lamy arrived in Beijing on Sunday as he tries to revive the stalled Doha trade talks.

In an interview prior to his departure for Beijing, Lamy said he would tell Chinese officials that developing countries should also contribute to the trade talks so they can be concluded in the next six to nine months.

"Obviously, all countries are preparing for a possible compromise ... and I want to make sure that as we reach this crunch time, China can preserve its defenses and offences in the negotiations," Lamy said.

Next week, representatives of the United States, the European Union, India and Brazil will meet in Germany to discuss possible compromise solutions to the Doha talks.

During his four days in Beijing, Lamy will meet with officials from the ministries of commerce, finance, agriculture, and the central bank.

The Doha Round of trade talks was launched in 2001 with the goal of boosting the global economy and helping poor countries through fairer trade conditions. The talks have stalled mainly because of sharp differences over agriculture subsidies and tariffs.

Lamy said the talks need to be finished by the end of the year or early next year, and to do that WTO members must first reach an interim agreement on cutting agriculture subsidies, agriculture tariffs and industrial tariffs in the next few weeks.

China, which joined the WTO in 2001, has stressed that specific concerns of new WTO members should be effectively addressed at the trade talks.

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2007)

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