WTO's Lamy says US farm bill poor trade signal

BRUSSELS - Plans in the U.S. Congress that could increase farm subsidies do not help efforts to conclude a long-delayed global trade deal, World Trade Organisation Director-General Pascal Lamy said on Thursday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 29 May 2008, 5:46 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:45 PM

After meeting visiting senior U.S. lawmakers in Brussels, Lamy said: "I was quite transparent in saying that this Farm Bill is not sending a great signal that the U.S. are serious about reducing their trade distorting subsidies."

The WTO's Doha negotiations to bring down barriers to exports around the world are now in their seventh year but face a crucial test in the next few weeks, after which the U.S. presidential election may cause years of further delay.

Mediators last week published proposals they hope can help close the gaps, ahead of an expected meeting of ministers from WTO countries in June or July to seek a breakthrough.

Speaking in the European Parliament, Lamy urged the European Union to show flexibility on the issue of cutting its import tariffs for agricultural goods, one of the core issues in the WTO's Doha negotiations which would also open the markets of developing countries more to industrial goods and services.

Europe's main farming nations and its industry and cars lobbies have voiced dismay at the latest proposals by senior WTO diplomats for a compromise deal, contending they will cost EU farmers billions in lost sales without bringing significant gains for European industrial exporters.

Lamy reiterated his hope that a long-elusive breakthrough remains possible.

"I think it is doable," he said.

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