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World Business Groups Bemoan WTO Collapse

The world's most powerful business lobby groups joined forces July 26 to appeal for a swift resumption of collapsed talks on freeing up global trade. The groups represented nearly all the biggest players involved in the World Trade Organization's so-called Doha Development Agenda (DDA), which was put on hold this week.

The signatories included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the EU's UNICE confederation, the Keidanren organization in Japan, the Business Council of Australia and Brazil's National Confederation of Industry.

"The suspension of the talks could lead to a failure of the Doha Round, which would undermine the promise of economic growth inherent in the DDA, and result in the loss of opportunities for WTO members to gain the tremendous benefits that accrue from trade liberalization," they said in a statement.

"We are committed to working for the ultimate success of the DDA negotiations in achieving an ambitious outcome, and to enhancing the multilateral trading system," the groups said.

The 149-nation Doha Round negotiations were suspended on July 24 after major trading powers failed again to agree on cuts in farm subsidies and customs duties which would have broadened free trade and helped fight poverty.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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