Bush says U.S. willing to be flexible in trade talks

U.S. President George W. Bush (R) meets with Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (L) at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, September 24, 2007. REUTERS/Larry Downing

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Monday the United States was willing to show flexibility in the Doha trade talks, particularly on agriculture.

“We had a good discussion on Doha, a shared commitment to a successful round of trade talks,” Bush said after meeting with Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“I assured the president that the United States would show flexibility, particularly on our agricultural differences, in order to help achieve a breakthrough,” Bush said.

“On the Doha round, Brazil is willing to do whatever is necessary so that we reach agreement,” added Lula.

Many experts see the next weeks as a final make-or-break opportunity for the World Trade Organization talks, launched in late 2001 in Doha, Qatar. Negotiators have been poring over a pair of draft texts released in July in Geneva for reaching a deal on agricultural and industrial trade.

The United States last week agreed to cut its farm subsidy ceiling to between $13 billion and $16.4 billion a year, according to the mediator of the farm talks, New Zealand’s ambassador to the WTO, Crawford Falconer.

Brazil regards the latest U.S. offer to cut its agricultural subsides as a positive move, Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said earlier.