Major WTO Members Will Meet In India To Trigger Doha Talks

Ministers from Australia, Brazil, the EU, India, Japan and the U.S. will try to advance global trade liberalization talks that stalled last July.

TOKYO, April 10 (Kyodo) - Ministers from key World Trade Organization (WTO) members will gather in New Delhi for a series of meetings from Thursday in a bid to break the impasse in global trade liberalization talks.

Seeking to alleviate the stalemate in the Doha Round of trade talks under the auspices of the WTO, the ministers from Australia, Brazil, the European Union, India, Japan and the United States will meet at a single location for the first time since the Doha Round broke down last July.

''I will defend our nation's interests as the representative of this food-importing nation,'' Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka said of the upcoming ministerial meeting at a news conference Tuesday.

Following Thursday's plenary session, a string of bilateral meetings between ministers are scheduled to take place from Friday.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari will also fly to New Delhi. The trade ministry is seeking to arrange meetings with his Indian and Brazilian counterparts.

Since U.S. President George W. Bush's fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals is to expire on July 1, the date has been deemed the effective deadline for WTO members to reconcile their differences and strike a broad agreement.

Separately from the New Delhi get-together, Australia and other food-exporting countries will organize meetings of their ministers in Pakistan, starting on Monday, in their own attempt to break the deadlock in the trade talks.

The Doha Round began in the Qatari capital in 2001, aiming to reduce subsidies, tariffs and other barriers to a free flow of global commerce.

It came to a halt last July over gaps among members about how and by how much to cut farm subsidies and tariffs, which distort the prices of products in the global market.