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EU Foreign Ministers Discuss Lifting Some Duties

February 26, 2001|Associated Press

A plan to scrap duties and quotas on exports from 48 of the world's poorest nations will top the agenda of European Union foreign ministers meeting today, with France and Spain objecting to the deal. The EU is promoting the trade initiative to open European markets to goods from the world's poorest nations, including Sudan, Haiti, Somalia and Cambodia, as a step in making global trade fairer. However, humanitarian groups complain its significance has been undermined by opposition from Europe's powerful farm lobby, which has secured long delays in phasing out EU duties and quotas on the most sensitive products--bananas, sugar and rice. France and Spain still object to parts of the deal, but, under EU rules, they'll need to win over more allies to muster enough votes to block it.

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