Accessibility links

Trade Talks Push Toward More Open Markets for Poorest Nation Exports

Negotiators at World Trade Organization talks in Hong Kong are discussing a proposal to increase export opportunities for the world's poorest nations. But the talks' broader goals remain stalled.

Negotiators from the United States, Europe and some of the larger developing nations on Friday were examining a proposal to give the world's least developed countries duty- and tariff-free access to their markets.

However, talks to liberalize agriculture markets continue to founder. Claus Sorensen, a European Union agriculture official, says the United States needs to produce a better offer. "Let's see what they can come up with," he said. "I need them to engage."

European officials want the United States to change its policies on food aid. They are also demanding developing nations open their markets to imports of European services and manufactured goods.

The United States, which has proposed steep cuts in farm tariffs and subsidies, and many developing nations say the Europeans must offer bigger cuts in their farm programs.