Expressing concern that the breakdown of the World Trade Organization’s Doha round of trade talks could hurt the growth of the world economy, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged Tuesday that Japan will “provide its utmost effort” to restart the moribund negotiations.

Koizumi said in a statement it is “extremely disappointing” that the WTO talks stalled because major trading powers failed to narrow their differences. But he added Japan will push ahead with a $10 billion aid package to promote trade with poor nations despite the logjam.

Japan announced the trade development initiative during the WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December. The aid measures include duty-free, quota-free market access for essentially all products from least-developed countries.

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