Brazil calls developing countries meeting at WTO

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GENEVA, Oct 29 (Reuters) Brazil is convening a meeting of ministers from developing countries in Geneva next month to plan strategy for the faltering Doha trade talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a senior Brazilian diplomat said today.

Ministers from the Group of 20 (G20) developing nations have been invited to Geneva on November 15, Paulo Estivallet de Mesquita, deputy Brazilian ambassador to the WTO, told Reuters.

The G20, actually numbering 23 members including developing heavyweights Brazil, China, India and South Africa, was formed at the WTO meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in 2003 to represent the position on agriculture of poor nations in trade talks.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim will visit Geneva on Wednesday to discuss the meeting with G20 ambassadors.

Mesquita said the gathering would allow developing countries to take stock of the negotiations, launched 6 years ago in the Qatari capital Doha, and plan strategy.

''It shows that the G20 is committed and really wants the negotiations to go on,'' he said.

The United States and European Union have said developing countries risk wrecking the long-running talks with demands for opt-outs from cuts to industrial goods tariffs.

Washington and Brussels want the more advanced developing countries to open up their markets for industrial goods in exchange for the cuts they are seeking in rich country farm tariffs and subsidies.

But the big developing nations led by Brazil, India and South Africa say they cannot agree to expose their industries to global competition until they know clearly what they are getting in exchange in agriculture, particularly from the United States.

The frequently stalled talks, which aim to boost the world economy by freeing up global trade, and have a specific goal of helping developing countries export their way out of poverty, broke down this summer.

But intensive negotiations among diplomats and officials resumed in September in Geneva on the basis of draft compromise texts produced by the chairmen of the key areas of industry and agriculture.

The two chairmen plan to issue revised versions in the middle of next month reflecting the past two months' talks. These could form the outlines of an overall agreement -- or reveal just how wide the gaps still are.

Reuters GT GC2355

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