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EU's new trade offer is serious, says Lamy


PARIS, Oct 31 (Reuters): The head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said yesterday that a new European Union offer to cut farm tariffs, already criticised by major trading partners, was serious and deserved consideration.
Pascal Lamy welcomed recent moves by both the EU and the United States on agricultural trade issues.
"Europe and the United States are moving on farm issues. This is good news," Lamy told France's LCI television in an interview.
"It's been a long time that this hasn't happened. This is what allows the rest of the negotiations to be unblocked."
He said Friday's EU proposal on farm goods was "a serious offer which merits serious discussions". The EU is offering to nearly halve its average tariff on agricultural imports to just over 12 per cent.
European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said Saturday that "Europe's final offer" represented a middle-ground solution for trade talks, but it failed to impress the 25-nation bloc's international trading partners.
The United States, Brazil and Australia demanded more concessions, while Africans said the offer fell short of what was needed to break a deadlock in negotiations.