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US, EU Want to Restart Doha Round of Trade Talks

The U.S. and Europe agree on the need to promote global trade by successfully concluding the Doha Round of world trade talks. But during talks in Washington, U.S. President George Bush and the visiting European commission president did not say whether they had reached any agreement on cutting agricultural subsidies, a key stumbling block in the trade talks. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from the White House.

President Bush and Jose Manuel Barroso both stressed the need to revive the stalled Doha round of world trade talks. But, following hour-long discussions at the White House, the two men did not say whether they had agreed to any steps to facilitate the resumption of talks, which broke down in July over agricultural subsidies.

Mr. Bush nevertheless stressed their shared commitment to liberalizing global trade.

"We both recognize that the best way to help impoverished nations is to complete this Doha round, to encourage the spread of wealth and opportunity through open and reasonable and fair trade," he said.

The so-called Doha Round of world trade talks has been stalled for six months. U.S. and European subsidies to farmers are widely regarded as a primary stumbling block. Other agricultural producing nations, particularly in the developing world, have complained that their farmers can not compete with artificially-low prices.

Sitting next to President Bush in the Oval Office, President Barroso said time is short, if trade talks are to progress.

"The most crucial factor is the successful negotiation for Doha," he said. "This is not just about trade, it is also about development. We are really at a defining moment."

He added that, if the EU and the United States take a global approach to trade and development, it will send an "important signal" to the rest of the world.

Mr. Barroso said EU officials will work with their American counterparts to find a way forward. He said the U.S.-EU trade relationship is the world's most important, and urged even-deeper trans-Atlantic economic cooperation.