Trade Ministers Set Doha Timeline

Although they are not yet making concessions, six core WTO members are setting the end of 2007 as a deadline for concluding the Doha round of trade talks.

Six key members of the World Trade Organization - the U.S., EU, Brazil, India, Japan and Australia - are not yet making commitments to make concessions to advance the Doha round of world trade talks. But trade ministers from those members agreed Thursday to set a new timeline for completing the talks, aiming to finish them by the end of this year.

The nations said in a joint statement, "We believe that by intensifying our work, we can reach convergence and thus contribute to concluding the (Doha) round by the end of 2007."

"We are, therefore, prepared to intensify our engagements."

The six nations have been meeting in New Delhi, India this week. None of the ministers were ready to talk specifics on reducing tariffs or expanding market access, Kamal Nath, India's Trade Minister, says this was not the purpose of the meeting.

"The effort was not to make any dramatic breakthrough but to assess where we are and where we are going," he said at a news conference after the meeting.

Trade ministers from the U.S., EU, Brazil and India plan to meet again in mid-May.

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