Developing nations must give more: France

24th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

TOKYO, Feb 24, 2006 (AFP) - Developing countries such as China need to make greater concessions in global free trade talks to match those already made by the European Union, France's minister for foreign trade said Friday.

TOKYO, Feb 24, 2006 (AFP) - Developing countries such as China need to make greater concessions in global free trade talks to match those already made by the European Union, France's minister for foreign trade said Friday.

The United States also needed to yield more in services, said Christine Lagarde, who was in Tokyo on the final leg of a swing through Asia.

"We certainly feel in Europe that we have made very large concessions. The emerging countries, particularly the large emerging countries — China for instance — are going to have to propose concessions," said Lagarde.

Beijing needed to do more to respect WTO rules on intellectual property rights, the minister added.

China has been criticised by the United States and European Union for not doing enough to honour its WTO commitments four years after it joined the 149-nation organisation.

Lagarde's comments came as WTO chief Pascal Lamy said in an interview with the Paris-based International Herald Tribune he was optimistic that a final accord could be struck by the year end in the third round of trade talks.

Lagarde was more cautious but said the trade negotiations were "kicking and alive," adding: "There's no doubt about it — we have made progress."

WTO trading nations want to reach agreement by the end of April on customs duties on agricultural produce and industrial goods, an issue that has held up progress toward an overall deal to reduce global trade barriers.

Developing countries such as Brazil have been pushing the EU and US to cut their barriers to commerce, particularly agricultural export subsidies and import tariffs on farm produce.

Brussels and Washington meanwhile want developing countries to open their markets more to industrial goods and services.

"We very much see that the future of the round lies in willingness to do some hard work, willingness to compromise, but certainly significant and serious offers to be made by the emerging countries," said Lagarde.

Washington also needed to go further, she said.

"The United States offer on services hardly takes stock of what the reality is today for it to be sensible and reasonable," she said.

Separately, Japan said its farm minister Shoichi Nakagawa had left Friday on a three-day trip to France to attend a gathering of agriculture ministers mainly from Europe and Africa on trade liberalization.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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