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Bush, Barroso Discuss WTO Trade Talks

18 October 2005 -- U.S. President George W. Bush had trade discussions at the White House today with European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

It was the first time in 16 years that the commission president has visited the White House. Bush said the talks were productive.

He said the U.S. values the relationship with the 25-member European Union.

"It is very important for the people in Europe to know that America values our relationship, wants the EU to succeed, wants to work in collaboration to achieve some big objectives," Bush said. "One is to lay the foundation for peace by spreading democracy and freedom and I appreciate your understanding and thank you for working closely on that."

Earlier today in Luxembourg, France again raised its opposition to EU moves to liberalize farm trade.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told reporters that EU trade chief Peter Mandelson's proposals on liberalizing farm trade made at the World Trade Organization (WTO) went beyond earlier agreements reached by the bloc's 25 governments.

The issue has threatened to sharply divide the European Union.