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WTO Divided on Setting Deadline for Trade Talks

November 13, 2000|Associated Press

Before setting a date for the next round of global trade talks, economic and foreign ministers from several Pacific Rim nations are urging the world's wealthier countries to give up their demands that environmental and labor standards be part of the negotiations. Government leaders from 21 nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum were in agreement during the weekend that the World Trade Organization should meet again soon. But they remained divided on whether to set a deadline of next year. The United States and Australia were among those wanting a new round of WTO negotiations to begin by 2001. Malaysia balked at letting the APEC forum seek a deadline, saying there are too many issues to be resolved before the world trade liberalization talks could get going. An official statement regarding future WTO talks was expected late today when the nations' ministers conclude two days of negotiations. That statement will form the basis of meetings Wednesday and Thursday between their national leaders. The meetings will be the last attended by one of the group's biggest supporters, President Clinton.

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