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The Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives reaffirmed Tuesday its opposition to capping import tariffs on farm products, a proposal recently made at global trade talks.

The group, known as JA-Zenchu, also confirmed at its national conference that it needs to seek protection from foreign competition for a large number of farm items at the Doha round of multilateral trade talks for the World Trade Organization.

“The outcome of farm trade negotiations might dictate the way the Japanese consume food as well as seriously impact the future of the nation’s farm industry,” JA-Zenchu Chairman Isami Miyata said to the gathering of some 1,000 farm cooperative representatives. He called for unity in pushing the group’s demands.

The meeting was held ahead of working-level WTO talks starting Tuesday in Geneva. The ministers plan to outline an accord on farm and industrial areas by the end of this month.

In the Doha round of WTO talks, members such as the United States, the European Union and Brazil remain sharply divided over how much trade tariffs on farm and industrial products should be reduced.