By  on May 13, 2008

GENEVA — Top negotiators from more than 150 countries are gearing up for a new diplomatic offensive in an attempt to achieve a breakthrough deal in the Doha global trade talks aimed at reducing tariffs and other trade barriers, but the prospects of whether a deal can be clinched are unclear.

"We need to head for a ministerial in May or June," European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said last week. "We cannot take future trade growth for granted. A trade deal doesn't just drive tariffs down, it stops them from going up and is therefore an insurance against protectionism."

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