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Progress made in HK WTO conference: spokesman
Updated: 2005-12-17 20:21

The ongoing Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference has made progress in issues concerning LDCs (least developed countries) and cotton trade, said WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell here Saturday.

The official told Xinhua that currently negotiators have made commitment to provide a duty- and quota-free market access for almost all products from the 50 least developed countries in the world.

The spokesman also mentioned some progress in the NAMA (non-agricultural market access) issue, but said that "it is moving slowly" due to divergencies on the detailed coefficient in the formula used to calculate the tariff cuts.

Currently, the negotiations are still going on, and Rockwell said it is still difficult for him to judge the outcomes of the conference.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy on Friday submitted a compromise text to ministers of all members concerning cutting the export subsidies of agricultural products.

The text calls for the United States and other developed countries to make promise that if the European Union make concessions in cutting the subsidies, they must also make some equivalent concessions.

Rockwell said "it remains unknown" whether the text will break the deadlock in agricultural trade negotiations.

The official appreciated China's support for the Doha Round and also thanked Hong Kong for the good environment of the conference.

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