Re-launching the agricultural negotiations
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CTA. 2003. Re-launching the agricultural negotiations. Agritrade, December 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52821
Informal talks were convened to re-launch agricultural...
Informal talks were convened to re-launch agricultural negotiations in the WTO on October 29th 2003. The meeting was described as a positive step. However it remains to be seen what text will provide the basis for further discussions. Although the Chair, Perez de Castillo, maintained that no one had rejected outright the idea of using the second revised draft Cancun declaration (the 'Derbez text'), India clearly prefers a hybrid approach involving various positive elements from different texts. The Chair is now trying to come up with a revised text which builds on common ground. The EU for its part remains in 'reflection mode', preferring to listen rather than take a lead, and the Commission has remained conspicuously silent in Geneva. This passive stance seems designed to stimulate others to take initiatives. The ICTSD however reports tension between the Commission and EU member states at the lack of a more active initiative form the Commission. At the Journal of Common Market Studies conference on October 28th 2003, Commissioner Lamy spoke of the concessions that the EU had made on agriculture in Cancun, emphasising that the EU had 'accepted, for the first time, the elimination of export subsidies on products of interest for developing countries', and that so-called 'blue box' subsidies, even though less trade distorting than some, should be capped. Comment: This acceptance by Commissioner Lamy of a capping of 'blue box' support sits uneasily with Commissioner Fischler's spirited defence of the blue box in Zurich on September 26th 2003 when he stated that 'it should not be negotiated, further reduced, or phased out in the future'.