/javascript" src="../static/js/analytics.js"> CalTrade Report - Agricultural Market Access Still a Hurdle for WTO CalTrade Report, World Trade Organization, Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation - Agricultural Market Access Still a Hurdle for WTO - But obstacles erected at Cancun seem to be ''eroding,''../">CalTrade Report Asia Quake Victims 05/18/04 - Last week, the European Union (EU) moved close to the US position on eliminating some export subsidies; agreement on a framework for further negotiations, especially on agricultural issues, is viewed as crucial by July, before the distraction of the US general election and before the scheduled change in European Union (EU) commissioners. - 05/18/04 - Last week, the European Union (EU) moved close to the US position on eliminating some export subsidies; agreement on a framework for further negotiations, especially on agricultural issues, is viewed as crucial by July, before the distraction of the US general election and before the scheduled change in European Union (EU) commissioners. - Agricultural Market Access Still a Hurdle for WTO CalTrade Report, World Trade Organization, Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation - Agricultural Market Access Still a Hurdle for WTO

 

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

 

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Agricultural Market Access Still a Hurdle for WTO

But obstacles erected at Cancun seem to be ''eroding,'' says USTR

PARIS, France - 05/18/04- Market access for agricultural products remains the biggest obstacle in current World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations despite progress made on other major issues during a trade ministers' meeting in Paris, says US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick (USTR).
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However, the USTR said, he senses "movement from developing countries."

Zoellick made the comments at a press conference following last week's Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ministers' meeting in Paris.

According to negotiators, July represents a deadline of sorts for the WTO negotiations, even though they most likely cannot conclude by the original December deadline.

Agreement on a framework for further negotiations, particularly on agricultural issues, is viewed as crucial by July, before the distraction of the US general election and before the scheduled change in European Union (EU) commissioners.

Differences over agriculture have been blamed for stalling the negotiations, formally called the Doha Development Agenda, and then for causing the collapse of negotiations at the September 2003 WTO ministerial meeting in Canc?exico.

Those differences have begun to erode, however.

During the week of May 9, the European Union (EU) moved close to the US position on eliminating export subsidies by a certain deadline, one of the three major agricultural issues.

Zoellick said he believed there was basic agreement on the way to approach a second major issue, substantial reduction of domestic support.

That leaves the third major agricultural issue, market access, or tariffs and quotas.

The USTR said he welcomed proposals from the G-20 group of developing countries and from the Cairns Group of agriculture-exporting countries, groups that have objected to proposals offered by the US and EU.

"I am pleased that, over the past day, I have had a sense that both the G-20 and the Cairns Group countries will be looking to offer proposals before long so we can have a productive session in June when the agricultural experts meet again in Geneva," Zoellick said.

Resolution appeared to be near as well for another major obstacle, differences over the four so-called "Singapore Issues." Zoellick indicated that Japan was likely moving along with the EU to accept negotiations on just one of those issues - trade facilitation based on significant Customs reform.

The EU and Japan had long insisted on negotiations on the other three issues, as well: investment, competition policy, and transparency in government procurement.

"That's very important," the USTR said, for developing countries that opposed any Singapore Issues negotiations.

He also described the state of play in WTO negotiations on two other sectors of importance to the US, reducing tariffs on industrial goods and opening markets in services.

And he welcomed progress made by Russia on WTO accession in negotiations with the EU. Although the US still has some major issues with Russia, especially intellectual property piracy, he said, US-Russia accession negotiations could still finish in 2004.

"This is really a situation where it depends on Russia's movement, including on some domestic legislation," Zoellick said.

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