Trade powers may push for deal at Easter: India

Written by Reuters | Davos, Switzerland, January 26: | Updated: Jan 27 2008, 01:12am hrs
Ministers from the world's biggest trading nations could meet around Easter to seek a breakthrough in long-delayed world trade negotiations, India's trade minister said.

"We are thinking of it around Easter," Kamal Nath told reporters. "We hope for a ministerial (meeting) around Easter."

Nath was speaking after ministers representing the United States, the European Union, Brazil, and a dozen other countries met World Trade Organisation (WTO) chief Pascal Lamy to discuss the chances of getting a breakthrough in the Doha round.

Easter falls this year in late March.

The Doha round of talks, launched in late 2001, have been deadlocked for years over differences among rich and poor countries over cutting farm and industrial tariffs and subsidies.

But the discussions now face a crucial few weeks.

"We have agreed that the momentum, the intent and the will have been never been more to bring this round to a close," Nath said.

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab told Reuters earlier that a deal could be done by the end of the year if major trading powers really wanted it, but she feared that some countries were still looking for excuses to stall.