French trade minister to visit Australia

2nd March 2007, Comments 0 comments

SYDNEY, March 2, 2007 (AFP) - French Trade Minister Christine Lagarde will visit Australia next week for talks on issues including the stalled Doha Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO), officials said Friday.

SYDNEY, March 2, 2007 (AFP) - French Trade Minister Christine Lagarde will visit Australia next week for talks on issues including the stalled Doha Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO), officials said Friday.

During her one week visit that begins Sunday, Largard -- considered to be one of the most powerful women in France -- will meet Australian Trade Minister Warren Truss to discuss bilateral issues.

"The ministerial visit will also provide an opportunity to explore multilateral issues; in particular, the evolution of the WTO negotiations and the Doha round," the French Embassy said in a statement.

Lagarde said last month that a "pause" was needed in WTO talks despite recent high-level efforts, backed by Australia and Truss, to revive the stalled negotiations.

"My personal feeling is that a real pause is needed," she told journalists in Brussels. "Let's have another look at the parameters, the environment, the role of emerging countries, the use of big agriculture production," she added.

After WTO talks ground to a halt in July the EU and United States have been unable to agree on the size of cuts in agriculture subsidies and tariffs protecting their farm industries, while rich and poor countries are at loggerheads over trade in industrial goods and services.

While in Sydney, Lagarde, who will visit New Zealand before leaving the region on March 13, will also help launch a French cultural festival and will give two seminars.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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