Cairns criticises EU on trade

Cairns criticises EU on trade

SYDNEY – The Cairns Group of agricultural exporters accused the European Union yesterday of holding the international trade system captive by refusing to allow significant cuts to farm subsidies.

The 17-nation grouping said in a statement that it was time for the EU to demonstrate leadership and revive efforts to remove global trade barriers ahead of a World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Hong Kong next month. It criticised the EU for failing to offer concessions at talks with key WTO members in London and Geneva this week.”The European Union has this week missed another opportunity to show leadership in the Doha development agenda,” the Cairns Group said in a statement.”The round is captive to the lack of political will in the European Union to deliver on the Doha mandate for agricultural market access.This cannot be pushed to one side if we are to succeed in Hong Kong and in concluding the round.”The Cairns group, comprising Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Uruguay, has lobbied to eliminate farm subsidies since its formation in 1986.”We are convinced that any effort to sidestep or undermine the high level of ambition in the Doha mandate would risk the viability of the entire Round,” it said.The EU has refused to match a US offer on cutting farm subsidies, instead saying it will cut the 25-nation bloc’s overall agricultural tariff rate from 23 per cent to 12 per cent.However, World Bank experts estimate developing countries need at least a 75-per cent cut in the rich world’s farm tariffs to make the Doha round meaningful.The Hong Kong meeting is viewed as a last chance for the 148 WTO nations to reach agreement on the Doha round launched in the Qatari capital in late 2001.-Nampa-AFPIt criticised the EU for failing to offer concessions at talks with key WTO members in London and Geneva this week.”The European Union has this week missed another opportunity to show leadership in the Doha development agenda,” the Cairns Group said in a statement.”The round is captive to the lack of political will in the European Union to deliver on the Doha mandate for agricultural market access.This cannot be pushed to one side if we are to succeed in Hong Kong and in concluding the round.”The Cairns group, comprising Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Uruguay, has lobbied to eliminate farm subsidies since its formation in 1986.”We are convinced that any effort to sidestep or undermine the high level of ambition in the Doha mandate would risk the viability of the entire Round,” it said.The EU has refused to match a US offer on cutting farm subsidies, instead saying it will cut the 25-nation bloc’s overall agricultural tariff rate from 23 per cent to 12 per cent.However, World Bank experts estimate developing countries need at least a 75-per cent cut in the rich world’s farm tariffs to make the Doha round meaningful.The Hong Kong meeting is viewed as a last chance for the 148 WTO nations to reach agreement on the Doha round launched in the Qatari capital in late 2001.-Nampa-AFP

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