WTO chief Lamy sees Doha deal in 2008

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DAR ES SALAAM, Oct 1 (Reuters) World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lamy said on Monday he expected completion of the Doha Trade Round in 2008 after reaching deals by the end of 2007 on difficult issues including agriculture tariffs and subsidies.

Negotiators have been working with two draft proposals published in July that were aimed at reaching a deal to rebalance world trade rules. Agricultural tariffs and subsidies, and industrial tariffs, have been the most controversial areas.

''The game plan as WTO members see it is let's try and get convergence on these three main issues before the end of the year, and then if we will get there it will open the way for a conclusion of the round sometime next year,'' Lamy said on the sidelines of a regional trade forum in Tanzania.

''The ambition has not changed. ... At the political level there is much more attention on this, and at the technical level we are now down to the nuts and bolts,'' he told reporters.

The talks that began in late 2001 in Qatar's capital, have stalled in the past over differences between rich economies like the European Union (EU) and United States, and developing nations.

The WTO's 151 member states are struggling to agree ways to lower worldwide tariffs and subsidies.

Lamy was attending an ''aid for trade'' meeting that seeks to help poor countries establish viable trade strategies, while examining where infrastructure spending by lenders like the World Bank would have the most benefit.

He gave the example of Kenyan flower growers who were barred from lucrative EU and U.S. markets because of pesticide residues on their blooms.

Lamy said with outside help, the growers had changed their processes. WTO officials estimate that for an investment of 5 million euros (.1 million) to do that, Kenyans are now accessing a combined market of nearly 1 billion euros annually.

''(African countries) are improving their capacity to benefit ... look at flowers,'' Lamy said. ''It's rocketing.'' He said donors must review how they worked, while poor countries had to improve their ability to set clear priorities.

''We have already taken an important decision. We're not going to reinvent a new machinery,'' Lamy said. ''But we have to do a better job of matching supply and demand.'' REUTERS SR RN1731

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