( dpa ) - The Doha round of world trade talks must be concluded this year, ministers meeting in Davos said Saturday while admitting little progress had been made.
Swiss Economics Minister Doris Leuthard said time was running out. Presidential elections in the United States would take the US out of the talks until 2010 as the world's biggest economy elected a new leader and a new trade representative, creating a "window of necessity."
She said the financial crisis could be a chance for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to conclude the round sending a strong signal that "we can stabilize the world economy."
The minister was speaking after an informal lunch on the fringes of the World Economic Fourm in Davos, Switzerland where the stalled talks were revived last January without success.
The negotiations launched in Qatar in 2001 have faltered many times over proposed cuts in tariffs on agricultural and industrial imports and domestic farm subsidies.
A ministerial meeting is planned for April in Geneva.