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China calls for realism in Doha talks
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All members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) should be realistic if they want to overcome major difficulties in the Doha Round trade talks this year, Chinese Ambassador to the organization Sun Zhenyu said in Geneva on Thursday.

"One important thing for all members is that they should be realistic, and also try to have a balanced outcome," Sun told a public forum, which focused on China's role in global negotiations on trade and climate change.

Sun said preventing and fighting protectionism is very important given the current global financial and economic crisis.

Under this background, WTO members are intensifying negotiations for a Doha Round breakthrough -- achieving modalities in agriculture and NAMA (Non-Agricultural Market Access), before the end of this year.

He said major issues WTO members need to overcome include SSM ( Special Safeguard Mechanism) and sensitive products in agriculture, as well as sectorals and preference erosion in NAMA.

"These are all very delicate issues, and eventually there must be a kind of balance," he said.

According to the Chinese ambassador, now the situation is quite different from that in July, when a WTO ministerial meeting fell apart due to major differences on SSM and other delicate issues.

"Now everybody is in crisis ... in order to get what we did not get in July, we have to be more realistic on those issues," he said.

The Chinese ambassador urged developed countries to bear in mind the development mandate of the Doha Round and not to seek their own comfort without considering major concerns of developing countries.

He also warned of a danger that some developed members in the WTO might try to "raise the stake" at this time of financial and economic crisis.

"If you raise the stake at this stage, try to ask for more on the basis of July, that will probably not fly," he said.

"That is probably the main problem we are facing now," he added.

The forum was organized by the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development, a Geneva-based non-profit and non- governmental organization.

(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2008)

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