Sarkozy says WTO agreement better than disagreement

24th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, May 24, 2007 (AFP) - Newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday an agreement in tough WTO negotiations would be better than a disagreement, but others needed to make more concessions.

BRUSSELS, May 24, 2007 (AFP) - Newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday an agreement in tough WTO negotiations would be better than a disagreement, but others needed to make more concessions.

"If the other sides want to make concessions to get an agreement, I say fine because an agreement is better than a disagreement," he told a news conference after talks in Brussels with European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

"Europe has to open up, but so do the others as well at the same time and in the same conditions," Sarkozy said.

Under former president Jacques Chirac, France fought fiercely against making major new concessions at the WTO in particular on opening up Europe's agriculture markets to foreign competition.

The current so-called Doha round of WTO talks on trade liberalization has long floundered as members fail to narrow differences on key issues such as generous support provided by the EU and United States to their farm sectors.

France, Europe's biggest agriculture power, has repeatedly clashed with the European Commission over making further EU concessions on agriculture, arguing that those already on the table go far enough without bigger offers from other countries.

Barroso said: "I'm aware of the concerns that exist in France, especially on agriculture."

"Europe cannot close up. Shutting up would be bad for our economy, for our workers for France, which is a big exporter," he stressed. "We need a balanced agreement."


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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