GENEVA (Kyodo) Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Shoichi Nakagawa and World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy agreed Monday that negotiators must begin the crucial stages of negotiations next month to conclude the WTO’s Doha round by the end of the year.

At a news conference after the meeting, Nakagawa said Lamy was concerned that the credibility of the WTO will be lost and the Doha round will be frozen for a year or more if members fail to narrow their differences by the end of July.

Negotiators were unable to strike a deal by their self-imposed April deadline to come up with numerical targets for tariff cuts in agricultural and industrial products. The impasse is threatening to prevent a conclusion of the round by year’s end, as agreed previously.

On farm negotiations, Nakagawa said he told Lamy that Japan is ready to compromise in some areas but not others.

Earlier, Nakagawa attended a meeting of the WTO Trade Negotiation Committee. He said negotiations will not move forward unless agricultural exporters “in a stronger position” are also willing to compromise.

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