Frustration builds at WTO talks as EU and US stand firm

Original Publication Date: 
15 December, 2005
HONG KONG (AFP) - The European Union and the United States stuck to their guns at the WTO talks, with both sides repeating demands for concessions on key issues as frustration grew over the lack of progress.

A US gesture to offer free access to its market for near destitute West African cotton farmers, after an initially cautious welcome, was soon dismissed as an empty gesture.

The EU in turn continued to take flak from the United States and the developing world for its massive farm subsidies and high tariffs, seen by many WTO members as the main impediment to a global trade liberalisation deal.

An Australian official expressed concern the six-day ministerial meeting, which opened Tuesday, was losing focus. He said delegates needed to concentrate on the core issue of agricultural market access.

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