The European Union (EU) expressed regret late Friday at lack of progress in the Doha Round of global trade talks after WTO Chief Pascal Lamy decided not to convene a ministerial meeting by the end of the year.
"We have come tantalizingly close to the finish line with an outline agreement that would have been good for everyone and a major boost for the world economy," EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
"Having come this far, we must not give up," she added.
Lamy decided on Friday not to convene a ministerial meeting by the end of the year on the long-stalled Doha Round trade negotiations because the risk of failure is too high.
The two most sticky issues that divide the United States and major emerging economies are sectoral tariff elimination for some industrial products and the special safeguard mechanism (SSM) for farm imports.
Lamy had originally suggested a meeting on December 13-15 and later postponed to December 17-19, hoping to clinch a deal by the year end.
Ashton called for new efforts with US President-elect Barack Obama, eyeing a deal next year.
"We should continue the work and engage with the new US administration in January to see how quickly a ministerial meeting can be called in 2009," she said.
The Doha Round has suffered many setbacks since its launch in 2001 with an aim to promote development trough trade opening.
A ministerial meeting in July failed due to sharp differences on the sensitive SSM issue.