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Coughlan comments on suspension of WTO talks

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today commented on the suspension of the WTO negotiations in Geneva. She said that while she favoured a deal being reached, she had continually pressed for an outcome that was balanced and which did not unfairly single out agriculture to bear the brunt of the cost. It has been clear in recent weeks that this view was not shared by the other main WTO partners and it was not unexpected, therefore, that a consensus could not be found.

The Minister said that the EU had made a substantive offer to reduce the levels of support and protection for agriculture on condition that comparable concessions were forthcoming from others.

Minister Coughlan added that she had always supported the EU position in seeking an ambitious and balanced outcome across the broad range of trade issues including agriculture, industrial goods and services and she was disappointed at the latest setback to the negotiation of a new round.

Concluding the Minister said she hoped that the negotiations would resume in the near future to achieve a balanced outcome, across all sectors, which would be in the interests of all WTO member countries.

24 July, 2006

Date Released: 24 July 2006