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Bush, Barroso Meet to Resolve Spats over Farm Subsidies
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US President George W. Bush said Monday that he and visiting European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso had discussed efforts to resolve differences over agricultural subsidies that stalled world trade talks.

"We talked about the importance for Europe and the United States to resolve any differences we have when it comes to the Doha round for trade, so that we can promote international trade," Bush said in a joint news conference after he and Barroso met at the White House.

"We both recognize that the best way to help impoverished nations is to complete this Doha round and to encourage the spread of wealth and opportunity through open and reasonable and fair trade," he said.

Barroso said that the two leaders "gave instructions to all negotiators to come with a solution as soon as possible."

"There is now the defining moment. We are really at defining moment," he said. "It will be a very important signal for the world community if we show that it is possible to have a global approach to trade and development."

High agricultural subsidies in industrial countries were the main cause of the breakdown of the Cancun Ministerial Meetings in 2003, and remains among the key outstanding issues in the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks.

The talks collapsed in July last year in a disagreement over how much the European Union, the United States and other industrial countries should reduce their subsidies and tariffs.

Poorer countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America say that the subsidies and tariffs prevent them from selling their agricultural goods abroad.
(Xinhua News Agency January 9, 2007)

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