WTO-TradeTalks 1stLd-Writethru 07-21 Web
EU offers to cut tariffs 60%
The European Union said today it would slash farm tariffs by 60 percent as part of a new global trade pact, a deeper cut than it has ever offered.
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson told reporters at the World Trade Organization that the offer was meant to kick-start an important week of global commerce talks on a new global commerce pact.
The 27-nation bloc has previously proposed to cut the tariffs by 54 percent.
"We’ve decided to help the negotiations this week get off to a strong start by raising the average cut in our agricultural tariff," Mandelson said. "That is a very considerable improvement on our own part, but of course it’s light years away from any effort we’ve previously made in a trade round."
Rich and poor countries have clashed repeatedly in the seven-year WTO talks known as the Doha round. Developing nations want more agricultural openings, while the U.S., EU and others seek better access for their manufacturers and banks.