e_legs

Unified Challenge on US Farm Subsidies Continues to Broaden

In Economic Justice, International politics, International Public Health, International Trade, Labor, Laws & Regulation, US Politics on September 22, 2006 at 8:58 am

From Journal Star:

CAIRNS, Australia — The Cairns Group of farm exporting countries will press ahead with a plan to revive world trade talks, despite the European Unions’ rejection of the idea, Australia Prime Minister John Howard said.

Negotiations have stalled over reducing tariffs and subsidies for farmers in Europe, the United States and other developed countries such as Japan, where strong industry lobbies argue they won’t be able to compete against a flood of imports from poorer nations.

Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile will propose a plan under which the EU would agree to better by 5 percent its offer to reduce farm tariffs, while the U.S. would agree to cut subsidies by $5 billion. He described it as a “middle-ground” proposition.

In another piece:

Japan’s Agriculture Minister Shoichi Nakagawa declined to set a specific target for U.S. subsidy reductions, but said the EU’s proposal was a good starting point.

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, present as an observer at the meeting in the northeastern city of Cairns, said Washington was willing to give more, but fwanted the European Union to first put greater tariff reductions on the negotiating table.

Arguments over U.S., EU and Japan agricultural tariffs and subsidies were elements in bringing the so-called Doha round to a standstill in July.

The vision statement of the Cairns Group reads: “The Cairns Group of Agricultural Fair Traders reaffirms its commitment to achieving a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system as sought by the Agreement on Agriculture. To this end the Cairns Group is united in its resolve to ensure that the next WTO agriculture negotiations achieve fundamental reform which will put trade in agricultural goods on the same basis as trade in other goods. All trade distorting subsidies must be eliminated and market access must be substantially improved so that agricultural trade can proceed on the basis of market forces.” [read the rest]
Its current membership includes:

Argentina | Australia | Bolivia | Brazil | Canada | Chile | Colombia | Costa Rica | Guatemala | Indonesia | Malaysia | New Zealand | Pakistan |Paraguay | Philippines | South Africa | Thailand | Uruguay

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