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Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai said Friday he is not optimistic about the prospects for successfully concluding the Doha Round of global free-trade talks by the end of this year as targeted by the World Trade Organization.

Ministers from six key WTO players will hold intensive discussions later this month.

The upcoming discussion is “very important for a conclusion (of the round) within this year. But I cannot be optimistic about the negotiations,” said Nikai, who will attend the ministerial meeting.

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