Trade Officials to Hold Talks to Save a Global Agreement

Original Publication Date: 
6 November, 2005

HONG KONG, Nov. 6 - Trade ministers from around the world have agreed to hold meetings in London and Geneva through the coming week in an effort to rescue plans for a global trade pact that is at an impasse over agriculture issues.

The talks in Europe coincide with concerns that differences over farm policies could derail a December gathering in Hong Kong of trade ministers from 148 countries and customs territories. The World Trade Organization conference here is intended to complete most of the work for a global deal to reduce tariffs, quotas, subsidies and trade barriers.

Critics have warned that the Hong Kong conference could produce little progress while possibly setting off street violence as protesters from many countries converge, as occurred during W.T.O. ministerial conferences in 1999 in Seattle and in 2003 in Canc