EU offers to cut farm tariffs by 60 percent

July 21, 2008 4:20:23 AM PDT
The European Union says it will slash farm tariffs by 60 percent as part of a new global trade pact, a deeper cut than it has ever offered. EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson told reporters Monday at the World Trade Organization that the offer was meant to kick-start a week of crunch global commerce negotiations.

Mandelson says he now hopes emerging economies like Brazil, India and China will respond by improving offers on industrial tariffs.

The EU has previously proposed to cut the tariffs by 54 percent.

Rich and poor countries have clashed repeatedly in the seven-year WTO talks. Developing nations want more agricultural openings, while the U.S., EU and others seek better access for their manufacturers and banks.