Trade ministers search for consensus; China calls for fair deal for poor

Original Publication Date: 
13 December, 2005
HONG KONG (AFP) - Trade ministers began the difficult task of getting consensus on a new pact to boost global commerce as emerging giant China called on the developed world to give the poorest nations a fair break.

Meeting at a gathering of the World Trade Organization, ministers from 149 countries are trying to bridge long-standing gaps on trade in farm products, industrial goods and services.

The likelihood of major headway is slim because of deep-seated differences between the European Union and the United States, and between developed and developing countries, over farm trade and market access.

Early in the day, around 20 militant Korean farmers, closely followed by around 150 press photographers, tried briefly to force their way through police lines near the WTO conference in Hong Kong.

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