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Daily News

September 13, 2003

CANCUN--The latest Cancun draft declaration presented to World Trade Organization members today (Sept. 13) proposes that the ministerial endorse launching negotiations on two of the four so-called Singapore issues, while delaying negotiations on investment and agreeing that competition issues be relegated to further discussion at the working group level.

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September 12, 2003

CANCUN--The U.S. today signaled it could agree to a European Union demand to extend the World Trade Organization “peace clause” set to expire at the end of this year in which members pledge not to challenge export and domestic subsidies on agriculture in the WTO or through domestic countervailing duty cases.

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CANCUN--The chairman of the fifth ministerial conference will likely attempt to circulate a new version of a draft declaration to the wider World Trade Organization membership by tomorrow morning (Sept. 13), according to informed sources.

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CANCUN--European Union officials while refusing to budge on their demand that this ministerial lead to negotiations on all four of the so-called Singapore issues have nevertheless indicated a willingness to scale down their ambition for each issue in an attempt to garner the support of India, a key opponent of these negotiations, a European source said.

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CANCUN--U.S. trade officials in private are singling out Brazil for criticism over its leadership in a group of developing countries demanding significant changes to the draft declaration's agriculture text, charging that country threatens to drive negotiations at the Cancun ministerial “off the cliff” if it fails to move off its current position once a new agriculture draft is presented to World Trade Organization members by tomorrow morning.

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CANCUN--Carlos Perez del Castillo, the chairman of the General Council, said today (Sept. 12) that he expected a revised draft ministerial declaration covering all of the outstanding subjects by mid-day Saturday.

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September 11, 2003

CANCUN--World Trade Organization Director General Panitchpakdi Supachai today (Sept. 10) expressed the hope that the ministers appointed to help bridge differences in five areas of a final declaration would be able to offer a substantial report of their progress to members by Friday. He said he expected ministers in charge of five working groups to begin their work tomorrow afternoon after engaging in bilateral meetings with delegations.

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CANCUN--The chair of the World Trade Organization's ministerial has agreed that contributions other than the wording prepared by the General Council chairman will be considered in the negotiations for a final declaration expected to be issued this week, according to Celso Amorim, Brazil's foreign minister.

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CANCUN--Singapore trade minister George Yeo told delegates at the World Trade Organization ministerial at a late night agriculture working group session held on Sept. 11 that he is “fully prepared” to submit a draft declaration text on agriculture by late today (Sept. 12) after an open ended meeting of the agriculture group, if members fail to bridge their difference, according to WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell.

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September 10, 2003

CANCUN -- The fifth ministerial of the World Trade Organization formally opened in Cancun this morning (Sept. 10) as ministers agreed to create five working groups that will attempt to reconcile the outstanding issues in the draft declaration.

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CANCUN--World Trade Organization Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi opened the Cancun ministerial today (Sept.10) with a call for trade ministers to ensure that they devote adequate attention to the needs of developing countries that may not be able to implement new trade obligations as quickly as developed WTO members.

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CANCUN--The five ministers that have been asked to help bridge the differences in the draft Cancun declaration will report back for the first time to the broader World Trade Organization membership tomorrow morning (Sept. 11) at 10am.

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CANCUN--Six senior U.S. officials are working at the ministerial of the World Trade Organization to help reconcile the differences in the draft declaration, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier announced today (Sept. 10).

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CANCUN--An impassioned plea by African cotton producers that ministers agree this week to move towards phasing out cotton subsidies met with general proposals from the U.S. and European Union today to tackle overall agricultural subsidies in the ongoing Doha negotiations.

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September 08, 2003

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman today (Sept. 8) said U.S. commodity groups could support a framework proposed for future World Trade Organization agriculture negotiations provided it includes specific figures that would guarantee market access gains for U.S. producers.

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A World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel late last week reversed course and said it would not decide whether the so-called peace clause in the Uruguay Round agriculture agreement prevented a Brazilian challenge of U.S. cotton subsidies, sources said. In June, the same panel sided with the U.S. and said it would first answer this question before proceeding to other substantive issues raised by Brazil's panel request.

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A study released last month from a University of Florida professor maintains that the Cuban government is able to earn hard currency from food that it imports and then sells to Cuban citizens at a marked up price in Cuba’s “dollar stores.”

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September 05, 2003

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has begun his effort to bridge the differences in the draft Cancun declaration by speaking today (Sept. 5) to South African Trade Minister Alec Irwin, with whom he also will meet in advance of the ministerial in Cancun, he told reporters. In addition, he said he plans to meet with the trade minister of India as well as with trade ministers of “a lot of developing countries,” he said after briefing members of the House Ways & Means Committee.

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September 03, 2003

August 29, 2003

An informal session of the World Trade Organization's General Council convened today (Aug. 29) to discuss the deadlock over how to provide new flexibility to allow developing countries to obtain cheap copies of generic drugs.

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