EU ministers discussing trade talks strategy

France and Finland are two of the EU countries to have raised concern that the 25-nation European Union might be forced into making unilateral moves to jump-start the struggling talks, which WTO chief Pascal Lamy has said risk collapsing if a deal is not reached in coming days.

The complex talks, already two years behind schedule, have stalled as poorer countries demand the 25-nation European Union and the United States offer greater cutbacks in support for American and European farmers.

Sniping between the EU and U.S. has also held up progress. Washington has joined Brazil, India and other countries in pressuring Brussels to make deeper cuts on farm tariffs, a sensitive issue in many European countries.

Delcros said the European Commission was not presenting EU countries with any new offer or change in position. He said Mandelson already has negotiating room at the talks, the AP reports.

The EU has indicated in recent weeks that it was willing to better its offer on market access for farm imports, but said Washington must improve its proposal on cutting domestic programs to its farmers.

Both the EU and U.S. want major developing countries like Brazil and India to allow more foreign competition for their industries and services.

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