European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday that he is concerned about the slow pace of global free trade talks. 

In a speech before the 148-member World Trade Organization in Geneva, Mr. Barroso warned that countries cannot afford to be complacent as they try to agree on a new trade treaty by the end of 2006.

The trade talks nearly collapsed in 2003 amid disagreement over investment rules between rich and poor countries and differences on agriculture.

Mr. Barroso said it is vital that an agreement be reached at a year-end summit in Hong Kong, which could lead to a binding treaty next year.

Some information for this report provided by AP, Reuters.