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EU will not unconditionally accept terms to restart WTO talks

The European Union will not unconditionally accept terms to resolve the deadlock of the free-trade talks of the World Trade Organization, said EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson on Tuesday.

Although a WTO deal would conform to the EU's interest, the EU would be reluctant to accept a deal on „any terms,” he said in a statement. Mandelson's remarks came after French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier vowed to defend the interests of France's agriculture, a signal that France may veto the EU-WTO deal if the EU gives too much concession on agriculture in the document. France, Europe's biggest agriculture power, is strongly opposed to the cut of agricultural subsidies and often criticizes the European Commission for yielding too much on agriculture in the WTO talks.

The WTO Doha-round talks were suspended in July 2006 as its members failed to reach an agreement on such key issues as agricultural subsidies. Six WTO members, the US, the EU, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Indian, during their ministerial meeting in New Delhi in April, set the year-end as the deadline for a final deal of Doha-round talks and vowed to redouble their efforts. (