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China calls for collective efforts to conclude Doha Round
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World Trade Organization (WTO) members should make collective efforts to ensure a successful conclusion of the Doha Round trade negotiations, Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said in Geneva on Monday.

"We should work together with a concerted mind, collective wisdom and maximum courage so as to pave a solid ground for the successful conclusion of the negotiations," Chen told a meeting of WTO ambassadors.

A successful conclusion of the Doha Round "will play a pivotal role in lifting the global economy out of current difficulties, safeguarding a fair trading environment and promoting the economic development of WTO members, especially the developing members," he said.

Trade and agricultural ministers from 35 major WTO members have gathered in Geneva with an aim to make a breakthrough in the two key areas of the Doha Round negotiations -- agriculture and NAMA (non-agricultural market access).

Their immediate task is to establish the so-call modalities of agriculture and NAMA, which refer to the method and formula of tariff and subsidy cuts.

Sharp differences among the WTO's 152 members on agriculture and NAMA have blocked the Doha Round since its launch in 2001.

WTO mediators on agriculture and NAMA negotiations issued revised compromise proposals or texts on the two issues earlier this month. Those two documents will be the basis of the week-long ministerial negotiations.

The Chinese minister said the revised texts had reflected, to varying degrees, part of the results of negotiations undertaken so far.

Nonetheless, there are still quite a few imbalances in those texts that require urgent solution if WTO members are to achieve the development goal set forth for the Doha Round.

Chen urged rich countries to agree to substantially cut their trade-distorting farm support, as the soaring global food prices have put them in a better position to do so.

The particular interests and concerns of poor developing countries should also be effectively addressed, he added.

(Xinhua News Agency July 22, 2008)

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