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IN SHORT BUSINESS

WTO chief praises Slovakia

THE HEAD of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Supachai Panitchpakdi, praised Slovakia for its proactive search for constructive solutions for the agricultural market and its reformist stance on economic problems, the news wire TASR wrote.

Panitchpakdi expects the organisation's member countries to begin discussing a framework agreement on access to the market for agricultural products as early as this coming July, he said after talks with Economy Minister Pavol Rusko in Bratislava.

Panitchpakdi said the 140 WTO countries were now discussing a number of highly complex issues that call for multilateral solutions.

"Bilateral arrangements and free-trade zones turn out to be failing to meet the requirements of the global market," Rusko said after the meeting.

This is why it is important for the WTO to succeed in accomplishing its mission to form a worldwide trade zone operating under common rules that are internationally acceptable, the minister added.

The WTO's five-day meeting held last September in the Mexican city of Cancun failed to agree on cutting more trade barriers, mainly due to the differing opinions of poor and rich countries.

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