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Mandelson hopeful of trade talks breakthrough

 Mandelson hopeful of trade talks breakthrough
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An end may be in sight for the long running global trade talks.

It follows a sixth day of intensive bargaining in Geneva between key members of the World Trade Organisation.

The Doha negotiations for a global trade deal were launched in 2001 to boost the world economy and help fight poverty.

The European Union’s top trade negotiators say they have support to continue discussions on a compromise plan.

The EU’s Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, said: “We are now closer to a deal than at any point in the last seven years.”

Only a few European countries, including Italy, Ireland and current EU president France, opposed the proposals as a basis for further talks when
Mandelson briefed the bloc, according to officials who attended the meeting.

The British Commissioner has come under attack from French President Nicolas Sarkozy for offering too much on agriculture and getting little in return on industrial goods, key to European exporters of cars, chemicals and textiles.

Without a breakthrough now, the talks risk being frozen for months while the United States and the European Commission change administrations, and India holds elections.