Leading lights at the conference table

Supachi Panitchpakdi, WTO director general

Former Thai deputy prime minister is expected to be a guiding if unseen force at this week's talks. The first WTO head from a developing country, he lacks official powers but will exert strong moral pressure on delegates to Cancun.

Pascal Lamy, European Trade Commissioner

Will be required to convince the European countries to give ground on the thorny issue of agricultural subsidies.

France will prove the hardest member to convince, although M. Lamy - a French socialist and no friend of President Jacques Chirac - is expected to use his close relationship with the US trade representative to achieve success. His term as commissioner expires in November next year.

Robert Zoellick, US trade representative

A strong liberaliser in both agriculture and industry, he will be seeking to bring enough back from Cancun to persuade Congress to block the protectionist US Farm Bill. Is also closely involved in negotiating the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Arun Jaitley, Indian Commerce Minister

Despite representing a country with some of the most anti-liberal trade policies in the world, Mr Jaitley is tipped to lead his country as well as representing the views of many developing countries within the WTO.

Luis Ernesto Derbez, Mexican Foreign Minister

The World Bank veteran became Mexico's economic minister following the election of President Vincente Fox. Retains responsibility for trade as Foreign Minister.

As part of the host delegation, Mr Derbez will provide much of the structure for the talks on which his government and people have placed considerable national expectations.

Celso Amorim, Brazilian Foreign Minister

Represents one of the Doha enthusiasts, Brazil retains lingering fears over the advance of the Free Trade Area of Americas. The former diplomat has been a leading light in representing developing countries.

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