BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — The Doha round of global trade talks has made more progress than people realize and a deal could be close on key issues, a senior EU official said Monday.
''While everybody has said that the talks are failing, they have in fact been moving forward, and we nearly have a deal on the key issues,'' EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
''There are draft texts on the table, others are not far behind. The next stage will now see further revisions, adding detailed nuts and bolts where a number of blanks exist,'' he added, according to a text of his remarks released by his office in Brussels.
The global negotiations to liberalize international commerce in agriculture, manufacturing and service among the World Trade Organization's 151 member states are three years behind schedule because of wrangling between rich and poor countries over eliminating barriers to agricultural and manufacturing trade.
Brazil and India have criticized the United States for its failure to offer deep enough cuts in farm subsidies, which critics claim unfairly deflate international prices, making it impossible for poorer nations to develop their economies by selling farm produce abroad.
The U.S. and the European Union are both seeking greater opportunities for their manufacturing exporters, but have met fierce resistance from emerging countries such as Argentina, Brazil, India and South Africa, which fear exposing their fledgling industries to competition from rich countries and China.