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Daily News

November 29, 2005

Pakistani Minister of Commerce Humayun Akhtar Khan this week announced he will help the chairman of the Hong Kong ministerial to develop a consensus declaration text on industrial market access. In a Nov. 29 press conference, Khan said Hong Kong’s commerce minister asked him to take on the responsibility of facilitating the NAMA talks, which he described as a challenge.

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November 18, 2005

Both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee today (Nov. 18) approved a free trade agreement the U.S. has negotiated with Bahrain, setting the stage as early as December for consideration of the pact by the full House and Senate.

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In response to a new push by the European Union on cotton subsidies, the U.S. today (Nov. 18) said an outcome on cotton that is more ambitious than what is agreed on other commodities in the ongoing WTO talks is only possible if there first is an agreement on an ambitious underlying agriculture deal, according to Geneva sources.

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November 11, 2005

The chairman of World Trade Organization talks on agriculture today (Nov. 11) said he would distribute a draft text for members to consider next week in advance of the Hong Kong ministerial.

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November 09, 2005

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Trade Representative Rob Portman today (Nov. 9) acknowledged that countries will miss their goal of agreeing to a specific blueprint for the Doha round at the Hong Kong ministerial in December. At the same time, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson announced that the goals for Hong Kong would have to be lowered given the large substantive differences among members.

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November 03, 2005

U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman will visit China during a 10-day trip that starts Nov. 6, he told reporters during a Nov. 3 press conference. Portman said that his meetings in China would likely focus on textiles, intellectual property rights, market access and other bilateral trade topics.

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November 01, 2005

The European Union’s latest proposal to further open its market to agriculture imports as long as other countries take significant steps on industrial market access and services is being criticized by trading partners in Geneva as minimal, and does not appear to be putting pressure on Brazil and other developing countries to offer concessions to reduce their industrial tariffs or agree to new market openings in services, according to delegation sources.

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October 28, 2005

The European Commission today offered to further open its market to farm imports as part of a Doha agreement, but warned that its proposal was conditional on other World Trade Organization members meeting a series of EU demands in agriculture and other areas, some of which those members seem unlikely to do.

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October 27, 2005

The European Commission appeared to be headed on a collision course with France and other member states opposed to its position on the Doha agriculture talks after EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel received the full support from the EU’s College of Commissioners to go forward with a new proposal to liberalize EU agricultural market access.

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October 26, 2005

An Oct. 27 senior officials meeting in Geneva where the European Union had been expected to float a new offer an agricultural market access as demanded by the U.S. and other countries has been cancelled, and the EU proposal is unlikely to be circulated until after an EU heads of state meeting hosted by United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, also scheduled for Oct. 27.

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October 24, 2005

European Union Trade Commission Peter Mandelson in a speech to EU development ministers today (Oct. 24) in Leeds said the EU must make an offer in multilateral talks on agricultural that would provide substantial improvement in market access.

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October 18, 2005

European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso signaled the EU would not move on agricultural market access until other World Trade Organization members show flexibility in other areas of the Doha round, such as industrial market access and services.

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October 17, 2005

U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman on Friday (Oct. 14) called on the European Union to match the U.S.'s offer to reduce domestic farm subsidies by making a substantive proposal to reduce agricultural tariffs in the stalled Doha round of the World Trade Organization talks. Portman said the offers made thus far by the EU and the G20 group of developing countries led by Brazil and India lacked sufficient ambition.

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French President Jacques Chirac has threatened that France could block a potential World Trade Organization deal on agriculture at the Hong Kong ministerial if it is unsatisfied with how a Hong Kong deal would reduce farm subsidies and tariffs, according to sources.

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October 13, 2005

GENEVA -- World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy today (Oct. 13) said that countries have narrowed their differences sufficiently over the past week to begin real negotiations on domestic agriculture subsidies, but had failed to do so on agricultural market access.

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October 12, 2005

GENEVA -- Brazil, India and other developing countries in the G20 on Oct. 12 reached agreement on proposals to reduce farm subsidies and agriculture tariffs in World Trade Organization farm talks.

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GENEVA -- U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and other trade ministers are planning to return to Geneva next week to continue efforts on finding common ground on agriculture and other areas of the Doha round after three days of intense talks failed to narrow differences between the U.S., European Union and other key countries.

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October 11, 2005

October 10, 2005

October 07, 2005

U.S. officials negotiating on agriculture in the Doha round face a challenge in placing meaningful constraints on future subsidies to farmers while providing the flexibility demanded by members of Congress writing a new farm bill in 2007, a U.S. trade official said in an Oct. 7 telephone conference.

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