• Kyodo

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Japan welcomed on Sunday a framework global trade agreement adopted by the World Trade Organization partly because it includes Tokyo’s demand for special treatment of politically sensitive products such as rice.

Trade minister Shoichi Nakagawa said at a news conference the agreement marks “an important start (for the WTO) to put a derailed train back on track.”

Nakagawa was referring to the WTO Doha Round that had been stalled since the collapse of a ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico, 10 months ago due to sharp differences between developed and developing countries over a range of key issues.

According to farm minister Yoshiyuki Kamei, Japanese delegates came to Geneva resolved not to make the post-Cancun period “a lost year.”

Kamei hailed the framework accord on agriculture.

“Various flexibilities that we have proposed the WTO should adopt in order to realize our demands were ensured,” Kamei said.

The framework agreement does not set numerical targets, which means WTO members need to iron out remaining differences to achieve a successful conclusion of the Doha Round.

“Based on this agreement, we will make efforts to achieve national interests,” Nakagawa told reporters.

In Tokyo, the head of a farm lobby also praised the WTO framework accord for its flexibility on politically sensitive products.

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