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Administration Officials Say EU Prepared to Make Better Market Access Trade Proposal

Trade negotiators head to Geneva this weekend for more negotiations.

Administration officials told Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss the European Union is prepared to make a market access proposal to cut tariffs significantly above the G-20 offer with limited protection for sensitive products in the ongoing World Trade Organization round of negotiations.

"This is welcome news and the type of serious proposal we have been waiting for," Chambliss says. "If the Europeans are prepared to move, then this shows the Europeans are finally willing to be full participants in the negotiations and this will help trade ministers make significant progress this weekend."

The news comes as U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab prepares for further talks this weekend in Geneva. The meetings in Geneva are with trade officials from the United States, European Union, Australia, Brazil, India and Japan.

In meetings with the Senate ag committee this week, Schwab told members President Bush had given her authority to make further cuts on ag subsidies only if other countries reduce their tariffs. However, she said "we are not going to negotiate with ourselves" and put more on the table without first seeing the EU provide greater market access for farm goods and bigger developing countries offer increased markets for industrials goods.

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