EU Makes WTO Proposal To Cut Textile Tariffs To Zero

By Agence France-Presse The European Union presented a proposal Nov. 4 to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva to reduce customs tariffs on textiles, clothes and shoes to near zero. The EU delegation to the WTO said in a statement the EU "proposes that all members agree to deeper cuts for textiles, clothing and footwear, with a view to bringing these tariffs within a narrow common range as close to zero as possible." The reduction of non-agriculture tariffs is one of the main issues in the current cycle of trade talks launched by WTO ministers in the Qatari capital of Doha in November of 2001 and which are expected to run until the end of 2004. The 144 WTO member countries have fixed a deadline of spring 2003 for reaching agreement on how talks are to proceed. The EU said its proposal to cut textile tariffs was made to respect a pledge by ministers last year in Doha to put development at the heart of trade negotiations. Developing countries are pushing for global markets to be opened to their agriculture and textile products, two sectors in which they have a competitive advantage. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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