Parliamentarians from more than 30 countries in Asia and Europe on Friday agreed to ask their governments to advance the Doha Round of trade talks to a balanced and early conclusion, preferably within the year.
Consensus was reached at the 5th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting (ASEP) in Beijing, in the form of a joint declaration.
More than 150 MPs from Britain, France, Germany and Japan, among others, attended the event.
During the two-day meeting, representatives from both developing and developed countries expressed their interests in pushing forward the Doha talks to ease the tension brought by challenges such as food and energy price rises.
They agreed that a balanced solution to the agricultural issue would be a breakthrough in the current deadlock of the Doha Round.
Qiu Hong, China's assistant minister of commerce and a guest at the meeting, said: "The imperative of the current talks is to have major developed countries take a first step to substantively and effectively reduce their agricultural subsidies and tariffs."
The Doha talks are not just the affair of governments, but also need support from the legislatures, she said.
This is the first time China has hosted the biennial ASEP meeting.
(China Daily June 21, 2008)