An EU/US framework for agricultural agreement is proposed
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CTA. 2003. An EU/US framework for agricultural agreement is proposed. Agritrade, September 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52630
The EU and the USA presented a joint framework...
The EU and the USA presented a joint framework to re-launch the WTO agricultural negotiations on August 13th 2003. The paper makes proposals on how to deal with each of three major pillars: domestic support; market access; export competition. On domestic support it proposes substantial cuts by all members who use trade-distorting forms of support, recognising that those who subsidise more will have to cut more. Less trade-distorting domestic support should be allowed where: direct payments are based on 'fixed areas and yields or such payments are made on 85% of less of the base level of production; in the case of livestock programmes payments are made on a fixed number of livestock units; such support does not exceed 5% of the total value of agricultural production by the end of the implementation period; the sum of allowed support under the aggregate measure of support and de minimis levels are reduced. On market access a hybrid formula is proposed, marrying the gentle across-the-board cuts used in previous international farm agreements with a call for a more aggressive capping of duties in some areas. The importance of the concept of 'sensitive products' is recognised and a special safeguard provision is envisaged for developing countries to protect sensitive products from excessive imports. The framework also proposes lower tariff cuts and longer implementation periods for developing countries. On export competition the framework calls for a 'clearly defined parallelism between the disciplines imposed on export subsidies, refunds and export credits and provides partial elimination of export subsidisation on a list of products of interest to developing countries. Finally it provides a path for parallel reduction of export subsidisation for products on which such support is not eliminated and for the disciplining of the activities of state-trading enterprises. Comment: The EU/US framework has not been warmly received. The Indian representative said it was 'not feasible', adding that 'it does not take account of our farmers interests… and seems to be an attempt to prise open developing country markets without commitment by rich countries to open theirs'. The Cairns Group for its part said the proposals were 'not enough' and were too vague to be a basis for real negotiation.