(May 18) Showing an eagerness to strike a deal with developing countries in global trade talks, the U.S. government on May 14 pledged nearly $1 million to the World Trade Organization’s fund to help poorer countries hire technical experts to help them negotiate trade pacts.

The U.S. contribution, designated for the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund, adds to previous contributions made in 2002 and 2003, according to a May 14 news release from the World Trade Organization.

One Washington lobbyist who wished to remain anonymous said a major hurdle in the ability of WTO negotiators to reach a framework trade agreement by July is the tension between the developing world, including Korea and China, and more established agricultural powers like the U.S. and Europe.

As far as the tension between the U.S. and Europe, the lobbyist said there appears more willingness on the part of Europe to eliminate export subsidies, but the EU is insisting that the U.S. also eliminate export credit programs.

That issue isn’t resolved yet, but the biggest issue for the fruit and vegetable insure is the tariff question, the lobbyist said.

The U.S. wants developing countries to agree to a formula approach that would shave the highest tariffs the fastest. However, developing countries want a flat tariff rate reduction, such as was featured in the Uruguay Round of global trade talks.