EU urges agreement on WTO trade talks before US election

LIMA, May 15, 2008 (AFP) – EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson on Thursday urged a quick draft agreement on the direction of global trade talks underway in Geneva before US elections in November closed “the window of opportunity.” Negotiating papers in the so-called Doha Round were to be published next week and Europe and developing nations “need to be on the same page,” he told reporters on the eve of an EU-Latin America summit being held in Peru.

“We are coming to a moment of truth,” and a breakthrough on the slow-moving talks was needed “in the next month or so… before the political calendar in the United States closes this window of opportunity on us,” Mandelson said.

Developed nations, including those in the European Union, are at odds with developing countries over access to each others’ markets in the trade talks held under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.

The EU wants Latin American countries to open their markets further to its goods and services while Latin American nations want greater access for their agricultural products in Europe.

The US presidential and general elections in November could spell changes in Washington’s stance in the negotiations. In any case, the pre-poll uncertaint