Lamy Optimistic About Agriculture Negotiations

The World Trade Organization's Director General tells Cairns Group that the beginnings of a final deal could be in the works for agriculture.

World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy told the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting countries Tuesday agricultural trade negotiations are going well, with progress made in regards to the main stumbling blocks.

The three main blocks in agricultural trade talks have been sensitive products, special products and the Special Safeguard Mechanim. The Cairns Group - made up of 19 agricultural exporters including Australia, Brazil, and Canada - has been pushing for better market access and deeper cuts in subsidies and tariffs.

The group is especially pushing for other WTO countries - including the U.S., EU and Japan - to make concessions to keep Doha Round hopes alive.

Lamy's optimism - he told the Cairns Group, "I firmly believe that in agriculture, we are close to reaching the architecture of a final deal" - is not matched by all of the countries in the Cairns Group in regards to the Doha Round.

"To extend the round deep into 2008 would be fraught with danger," Australian Trade Minister Warren Truss said at a news briefing.

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