Tokyo To Host Informal WTO Ministerial Talks On Nonfarm Items

Original Publication Date: 
28 March, 2005
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Tokyo to host informal WTO ministerial talks on nonfarm items
Kyodo via Yahoo! Asia News
March 29, 3:00 PM

(Kyodo) Japan will host an informal session of World Trade Organization talks April 10 in Chiba to narrow gaps over market access for nonfarm products, Japan's trade minister said Tuesday.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said he will chair the meeting, inviting ministers from eight major WTO member economies in Asia -- China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

Stefan Johannesson, chairman of the WTO's Negotiating Group of Non-Agricultural Market Access, will also attend, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Johannesson will hold talks with Nakagawa a day before the Chiba forum, the ministry said. Chiba is east of Tokyo.

During an informal WTO meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in January, member economies agreed market access for nonfarm products is one of five key areas in which first drafts for agreements should be mapped out by July, ahead of the full-member WTO ministerial conference slated for December in Hong Kong.

Global trade liberalization talks under the Doha Round, launched in November 2001, have been stalemated due to a wide gap among member economies over key issues ranging from tariff cuts to farm subsidies.

The WTO extended the deadline for the 148 WTO members to wrap up the Doha Round within at least a year from the originally set date of Jan. 1 this year.