WASHINGTON, D.C., August 27, 2003 -- CropChoice news -- Reuters:
Countries remain sharply divided in negotiations on
agriculture heading into an important World Trade Organization
meeting next month in Cancun, Mexico, a top U.S. trade
official said on Wednesday.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier said
countries also strongly disagree over the formula for
cutting industrial tariffs and whether to formally launch
negotiations on investment and other so-called ``Singapore
But speaking to reporters by phone from Geneva, Allgeier
said it was possible there could be a deal before the
Cancun meeting to guarantee that poor countries will
have access to cheap versions of patented life-saving
Washington has been anxious for countries to make enough
progress at the Cancun meeting to keep world trade talks
on track to conclude by January 2005. The negotiations
were launched in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001.
Allgeier said a draft declaration for the Cancun meeting
issued earlier this week by WTO General Council Chairman
Carlos Perez del Castillo ``falls short of the level
of ambition'' the United States would like to see.
However, Perez del Castillo is expected to deliver
a letter to trade ministers along with the draft outlining
the important decisions that they will need to make
in Cancun, he said.
The United States will push for changes to the draft
that would allow an ambitious level of market opening
in all areas of the talks, while still providing the
poorest countries with some flexibility to protect sensitive
industries, he said.