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UPDATED: 10:29, December 20, 2005
Barroso hails EU's role in Hong Kong WTO talks
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European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday hailed the role of the European Union (EU) at the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong, saying the EU saved the talks.

"The trade round is still on track to be completed by 2006 and this is an achievement in itself because there was a risk of rupture, the failure of this round," Barroso told reporters.

He commended the performance of the EU's chief nogotiator Peter Mandelson and Agricultural Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel at the talks.

Barroso said the EU saved the talks by agreeing to scrap farm export refunds by 2013.

"We have managed to save Hong Kong (talks)," he said.

Barroso asked EU's trade partners to reciprocate. "If our partners think that the success of the round will be based on concessions in European Union agriculture, they are wrong. If they want a success of the WTO talks they must accept real concessions, real progress in non-agricultural goods, namely industrial goods and services."

He said commitments from trade partners, especially to industrial goods and services are needed. "The European Union cannot deliver this round on its own."

But he admitted that there is still much to be done before the successful conclusion of the Doha round.

Source: Xinhua


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