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US, Australia Trade Talks Continue - 2004-02-08

Trade negotiators from the United States and Australia are back at the bargaining table Saturday after failing to reach agreement on key farming issues.

The team, led by U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick and Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile, were expected to wrap up talks Friday after nearly two weeks of negotiations in Washington.

But the two officials were still at odds over several issues that are blocking a free trade agreement between the two allies.

The main sticking point is Washington's reluctance to open its highly protected sugar, beef and dairy markets to more imports from Australia.

Other issues include U.S. demands for changes in local content rules on Australian television and for reforms in Canberra's prescription drug program.