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EU governments want tougher European stance at WTO farm talks

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EU governments want tougher European stance at WTO farm talks

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Several EU states are accusing Brussels of offering too many concessions in World Trade Organisation negotiations on agriculture. France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Hungary and Cyprus’s ministers being briefed by the farm and trade commissioners said they found the EU executive’s approach “much too weak”. Yet Mariann Fischer Boel and Peter Mandelson said they did not give anything away in last week’s meeting with the Americans.

Ultimately, all 148 WTO members must agree on a set of formulas and timetables for eliminating export subsidies, reducing “trade-distorting” domestic farm payments and cutting tariffs. Radical plans to overhaul EU sugar policy have countries that used to be European colonies particularly upset.