Fully liberalised international trade could be attained more quickly if issues affecting trading partners were resolved on an individual basis rather than weighing down the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) agenda, Secretary for Trade and Industry Brian Chau Tak-hay said. At the opening of the Trade Department's new customer service and information centres yesterday, Mr Chau said the WTO process was being slowed unnecessarily, throwing the date of the next round of trade talks into doubt. 'By rolling everything together . . . we can't take into consideration every members' needs,' he said. The agenda for the next round of WTO negotiations - which hopefully will occur next year or early 2000 - envisages greater reduction of barriers in agriculture, services trade and aspects of intellectual property rights. Mr Chau said whether the WTO talks took place next year or later depended on whether general talks in Geneva this month could ratify an agenda. He was not optimistic that that would be achieved, he said. 'There are a 100-something delegates but only two days,' he said. The customer service centres were set up to minimise trade regulatory procedures. The two new centres operate under the Asia and Americas Textiles Controls Branch and the Europe Textiles Controls Branch. The Asia and Americas branch has had a customer service centre operating for six months, so far handling about 8,000 enquiries.