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Europe

EU Warns Developing States Against Defensive Trade Policies

Pascal Lamy, the EU's head of trade policy, has cautioned developing countries not to pursue defensive trade polices, as WTO negotiations begin to show signs of rekindling.

"The role of developing countries, united in the G-20 group, is essential in these negotiations," Lamy said in Strasbourg on Tuesday. The warning comes after developing countries -- dissatisfied with offers from the developing world, particularly in the area of agriculture -- forced the collapse of talks in Cancún, Mexico, last September. "We expect the G-20 to contribute in a positive manner to the negotiations in their entirety by taking initiatives and not remaining a solely defensive alliance, nor limited to agriculture," Lamy stated. For its part, the EU is trying to remain open to compromise, stepping down on investment rules and insisting on flexibility in agricultural negotiations. "We have reaffirmed our wish to negotiate seriously in the areas of agriculture, including the negotiation of a list of products of interest for developing countries upon which we could eliminate export taxes," he said. The commissioner is set to travel to Bangladesh, India and Indonesia in the coming weeks to continue the talks with G-20 members which took place in Brasilia late last year. (EUobserver.com)

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