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US Trade Representative Calls on WTO Members to Revive Trade Talks - 2004-01-12

The U.S. Trade Representative is calling on members of the World Trade Organization to revive trade talks that broke down last September in disputes over agricultural subsidies and other issues.

Developing nations complained that subsidies for farmers in wealthy nations encourage overproduction, hurting third-world farmers by depressing prices.

Monday's edition of the Financial Times newspaper quotes U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick as saying it will be necessary to eliminate agricultural export subsidies by a certain date to get an agreement.

Washington has been advocating quicker action on export subsidies than the European Union, but EU officials nevertheless welcomed Mr. Zoellick's comments Monday.

Mr. Zoellick says he will press his views in letters and visits to many WTO members.

World Bank experts have said successful negotiations that remove trade barriers could be a major boost for the global economy.