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Mar 17, 2004

EU sees trade-talks progress by August

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© Reuse this European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said at the weekend there is a "brief window of opportunity" for making progress on the new round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks until the end of August, and that he will urge China to take an active part in the negotiations, reports Kyodo of Japan.

Lamy, who was visiting Hong Kong and traveled to Beijing on Sunday, said some countries in Asia have entered into bilateral free trade arrangements in "racing fashion," but they should not back away from multilateral agreements.

The EU is lobbying hard in order to secure some improvement to move forward the global trade talks at the WTO General Council in Geneva in May, Lamy told a press conference.

Lamy said he will also raise matters about China's implementation of its WTO commitments with the senior Chinese trade officials, such as market opening in the services sector and problems in China's industrial policies.

Lamy noted that the prospects for the global trade talks are not as dim as the media anticipated, but WTO members need to move quickly and efficiently.

"We have a brief window of opportunity from now to the end of August," he said. After that period, there could be problems of maneuvering because of the high season of the US presidential election campaigning and the upcoming end of the mandate of the current European Commission in November, which might see some changes in personnel and portfolios, he added.
Edited by: laurian clemence
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