|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.10, 8.3.01, p6|
THE Union is planning to host a meeting of ministers from key members of the World Trade Organisation in a bid to boost support for launching a new round of liberalisation talks this year.
The talks will include representatives from the world's least developed states to ensure that their demands for the next round of negotiations are met.
The meeting is planned as part of the EU's strategy to get developing countries' backing for a new round, which the Union wants to launch at the WTO ministerial session in Qatar in November.
Trade officials say London would be the most likely venue for the talks. The Swedish Presidency is also organising a separate conference on the needs of least developed countries in May.
The EU has targeted developing countries in its bid to win support for a new round because more of them have become WTO members over recent years.
This week Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy emphasised the importance of initiatives such as the 'everything but arms' package, which offered duty-free access to Union markets for almost all imports from the world's 48 least developed countries, as well as the effort to improve access to essential medicines, in broadening support for a new round.
Swedish Trade Minister Leif Pagrotsky stressed that the next round should appeal to more than just rich industrialised countries, saying in a statement: "A new round must serve the interests of all the WTO members (and) should aim to promote a broader spread of the benefits of globalisation, and at contributing to world economic and sustainable development".
As European Voice went to press, Lamy was in Washington for a meeting with his US counterpart, Robert Zoellick. Discussions will cover prospects for a new round and for solving a number of high-profile trade disputes ranging from bananas to beef hormones and airplane hushkits.
The Union is planning to host a meeting of ministers from key members of the World Trade Organisation in a bid to boost support for launching a new round of liberalisation talks in 2001.