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African trade negotiators meet to plan global trade plan

29th November 2003

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A two-day meeting to discuss the implications for Africa of global trade talks that broke down in September was to open yesterday in Ghana, gathering negotiators, officials and representatives from international trade bodies.

World Trade Organisation talks in Cancun broke down in mid-September over a fierce row between rich and poor nations about agricultural subsidies and proposals to extend the mandate of the WTO to cross-border investment.

At Cancun, developing countries failed to secure agreement on measures to eliminate agricultural export subsidies in rich nations.

The dispute later contributed to the collapse of the conference but was widely hailed in Africa as a success for the united front presented by the world's poorest continent against wealthy nations.

The Ghana meeting, jointly organised by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union, would evaluate the implications of the WTO talks for Africa and assist African countries to "develop and refine their strategies for further negotiations," the ECA said in a statement.

WTO director general Supachai Panitchpakdi said in October that he would visit Africa to try to understand the region's position in the current round of global trade talks, ahead of crucial WTO general council meetings next month. – Sapa-AFP.
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