New world trade talks move closer

First official agenda proposal asks all sides to compromise, leaves green issues on the back burner

With the spectre of last month's terrorist attacks in the USA hovering in the background, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has issued draft proposals for launching a new global round of trade talks in November. The paper holds out little promise of progress on longstanding EU demands for environmental rules, but asks other trading blocs to make painful concessions as well.

Due to take place in Doha, Qatar, in November, the planned WTO ministerial meeting is intended to revitalise the world push towards freer trade after the last ministerial meeting held in Seattle in 1999 collapsed amidst deep disagreements within the conference centre and riotous protests outside (EED 06/12/99).

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