Non-trade concerns are highlighted
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CTA. 2002. Non-trade concerns are highlighted. Agritrade, August 2002. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52707
The WTO mini-Ministerial meeting in Rome on June 14th 2002 highlighted the...
The WTO mini-Ministerial meeting in Rome on June 14th 2002 highlighted the importance of addressing non-trade concerns. The current EU approach emphasises the legitimate right of states to pursue non-trade objectives, such as strengthening socio-economic viability and the development of rural areas. The EU stresses how in the forthcoming negotiations 'non-trade concerns of both developing and developed countries are elements of vital importance to be duly taken into account in order to establish an agricultural trading system which is fair as well as market orientated.' In Rome the discussions focused on what policy measures should be adopted in order to address non-trade concerns, particularly such issues as rural development, food security, and protection of the environment. It was recognised that 'a one size fits all' approach would not be appropriate given the diverse situations and priorities of WTO members. In spite of this diversity it was recognised that all countries need to develop the economic and social environment necessary to maintain the rural population, and that countries need to ensure food security for their people through a mixture of domestic production, imports and, where appropriate, public stockholdings. It was further recognised that these non-trade concerns cannot adequately be addressed without viable domestic agricultural production and that for vulnerable developing countries - especially least developed, land-locked and small island economies - preferential market access is the key to obtaining the necessary resources for addressing non-trade concerns. Comment: Among the important issues which are likely to arise in the forthcoming negotiations are: how to define non-trade objectives; and more importantly how to assess their impact on trade. For example, the EU emphasis on strengthening the socio-economic viability and development of rural areas is currently allowing investment subsidies to be given in order to increase local value-added processing for new markets, including export markets. Clearly these investment subsidies to food processing, under the guise of rural development, provide European exporters of value-added food products with a competitive edge and thus have clear trade implications. How these trade implications of rural development measures are to be dealt with is likely to be an important issue in the forthcoming discussion of non-trade concerns and one which could have important implications for ACP value-added food product industries in the context of moves towards free trade with the EU.