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Brazil Official: Much Work Needed to Reach New WTO Trade Agreement


Brazil's principal trade negotiator Tuesday presented a pessimistic assessment of the prospects for completing the Doha Development Round of trade liberalization negotiations by the December deadline. The global trade talks started several years ago in Doha, Qatar.

Luiz Felipe de Seixas Correa, Brazil's representative to the World Trade Organization, says reaching a new trade agreement will be a challenge. Speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, Mr. Correa said the global trade talks come amid the WTO's maneuvering to choose its next secretary general.

He said facing the negotiators is the task of drawing up separate proposals for agreements on trade in agricultural goods, services and industrial products.

The proposals, analysts say, must be completed by mid-year if the WTO wants to meet its December deadline for reaching final agreements.

Mr. Correa himself is a candidate for the WTO top post. His country, Brazil, is a leading advocate for rolling back agricultural subsidies and making the organization more responsive to the needs of developing countries.

He said if he is chosen to lead the WTO he will place development at the center of the trade negotiations.

"When I refer to this I'm really referring specifically to the need to create conditions for the least developed countries to participate in the process on a fairer basis," Mr. Correa said.

Mr. Correa, a career diplomat, says procedures and agreements for completing the Doha round negotiations expire over the next 12 months and extending that would be difficult.

He said much work remains to be done in all critical areas, including agriculture, services, market access and industrial products. But he said that a deal can be reached.

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