29 January 1999

Expand agenda of WTOround

THE next round of World Trade Organisation talks, starting in November, should deal with animal welfare and product labelling, as well as the more traditional subjects of import taxes and export subsidies.

Speaking at this weeks international Green Week in Berlin, EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler said these were the questions European consumers were really interested in.

"We take the view that the new WTO round should not be confined to agriculture and services. Other topics should be included," he said. "The EU ought to be pressing, at international level, for better food safety and quality standards."

He acknowledged, however, that the real battle lay in defending the EUs direct income payments to farmers, which so far have been exempt from cuts under the so-called blue box provisions of the last (GATT) trade deal. &#42