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Bush due in Vienna for EU-U.S. summit

brussels bureau

Bush due in Vienna for EU-U.S. summit


President George W. Bush will be in Vienna for an annual European Union-U.S. summit this Wednesday;

trade, investment, long-term energy supplies and cooperation in fighting terrorism are on the agenda.

The EU’s top trade official has hinted that trans-Atlantic disputes over U.S. beef and poultry exports may be close to being resolved.

But topics in Vienna include trying to narrow differences that are blocking the World Trade
Organisation’s Doha round to boost global commerce.

At a pre-summit press briefing, Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel made clear the EU would be pressing its own case.

She said:

“There will be no unilateral committement from the European Union. We now want to see others move: clearly the Americans in domestic support and a less ambitious approch to the market access.”

Key WTO countries face a meeting late this month on agriculture and industrial goods, two pillars of the round which risks being shelved for years if no deal can be found soon.

Bush will also face fresh calls from the EU to relax visa requirements for most of the bloc’s 10 mostly former Communist new members.

He will also hear calls for closure of the Guantanamo prison camp.

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