labels: world trade organisation, trade
Developing countries to hold firm at news
12 June 2007

Developing countries will stand their ground on key issues during forthcoming world trade talks, Brazil''s foreign minister has said, Celso Amorim has said.

Amorim challenged the US to offer "real" cuts in the levels of subsidies paid to farmers in the battle to break the deadlock on trade talks.

The US had said in 2005 that it would cap farmer subsidies at $22 billion, which Brazil and India said was twice the level of what it should be, a limit that David Salmonsen of the American Farm Bureau Federation has called unrealistic.

The G20 group of developing nations has been meeting in Geneva ahead of global talks in Potsdam, Germany, next week, where it will meet with the US and the EU for crucial talks to break the logjam on the Doha round of world trade talks that have foundered since 2001.

The G20 has reiterated that agriculture was key to any agreement. Developing nations say that the subsidies artificially force down prices of agricultural products that make it harder for poorer countries to sell their farm goods overseas.

Apart from cutting subsidies, the US and EU are under pressure to reduce customs duties they charge on imports of agricultural products. In return, developing nations are supposed to open their markets up to industrial goods and services from the rest of the world.

"We all know that we are in a negotiating phase but we don''t want to sacrifice basic positions just for a speedy result, Amorim said.


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