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European Parliament approves new EU trade chief
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21:47, October 22, 2008

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The European Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved British Baroness Catherine Ashton to replace Peter Mandelson as the European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner.

The vote was 538 in favor and 40 against, with 63 abstentions. It came two days after a key European Parliament committee decided to endorse her appointment at a hearing.

Ashton told the parliament's trade committee that her priority would be to revive the long-stalled Doha Round of global trade talks, urging the United States to play its role.

"My first visit will be to Geneva to assure (WTO chief) Pascal Lamy that the WTO and pursuing a successful Doha Round remains absolutely central to Europe's trade policy," she said.

Ashton, former leader of Britain's House of Lords, was appointed EU Trade Commissioner earlier this month, replacing Mandelson, who resigned to join the British cabinet.


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