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Europe

EU Trade Chief Gets Backing for Plan To Restart Trade Talks

Pascal Lamy's plan to get international trade negotiations back on track in the wake of Cancún gets a nod of approval from EU finance ministers.

European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has won the backing of EU trade ministers on a strategy paper aimed at putting global trade talks back on track after they collapsed in Cancún, Mexico, last September, the Financial Times reported. The support from the EU ministers will give Mr Lamy the clout he needs when he travels to Geneva later this month for a World Trade Organization meeting aimed at restarting the stalled negotiations on a global trade agreement. But development groups criticized Lamy’s position paper, unveiled last week, because it still remains unpalatable to developing countries on a number of issues and makes only minor new concessions to Europe’s trading partners, they charged. But the strategy also offers more flexibility on a number of the most-contentions "Singapore issues" – mostly relating to investment, competition, transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation-- that plagued the Cancún summit. ( EUObserver.com)