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Germany

Finance Minister Eichel: Free Trade Essential

"Free world trade is a foundation for the whole world's prosperity," German Finance Minister Hans Eichel said at a meeting of finance ministers from important industrial and newly industrialized countries in Morelia, Mexico on Sunday. The ministers wanted World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations to be resumed and successfully completed by 2005, Eichel said at the G-20 ministerial meeting. The last WTO meeting in Cancun in September ended in failure, after industrial and developing countries failed to overcome differences. The G-20 is an international forum of finance ministers and central bank governors that represents 19 economically important countries, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Germany will take the reins of the G-20's rotating chairmanship next year. The next ministerial meeting will take place Nov. 19-21 in Berlin.