By  on July 10, 2009

WASHINGTON — Leaders at the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, vowed Thursday to conclude the stalled Doha Round of trade talks in 2010.

The leaders said they were “committed to seek an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Round in 2010, consistent with its mandate, building on the progress already made….We reaffirm our commitment to maintain and promote open markets and reject all protectionist measures in trade and investment.”

The leaders, representing the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea and the European Commission, also said they would instruct their trade ministers to schedule a meeting before the next G20 summit set for September in Pittsburgh to “fill in the remaining gaps in the negotiations as soon as possible.”

The Doha Round, aimed at lowering or eliminating global tariffs and other trade barriers, was launched in 2001. But negotiations have been mired for years in a complex range of issues, including the insistence of Brazil and African countries that the U.S. reduce the its subsidies to the cotton industry. Western countries have demanded that developing nations such as China and India open their markets further.

The most recent formal talks broke down a year ago over disagreements between the advanced and developing countries regarding agriculture.

The Obama administration has expressed its support for completing the trade talks, but had shied away from committing to a time line. In May, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk conducted three days of meetings with World Trade Organization counterparts. At the time, he said the U.S. needed more clarity about what major emerging countries were willing to give in return for U.S. compromises.

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