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Lamy Says EU Agriculture Accord Will Push U.S., Food Exporters
Bloomberg
The European Union is looking to an internal agreement this week on how it subsidizes farmers to help push for agriculture policy changes in the U.S. and other food exporters, said chief EU trade negotiator Pascal Lamy.
I have plenty of ideas how I can use this extra negotiating room if I have been given it,'' Lamy said in a videoconference with reporters in Washington. ``I don't know how much extra credit I will be given, but I have plenty of ideas on how to spend it.''
Ministers from the 15-nation bloc failed last week to agree on a proposal by the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, to replace many agriculture subsidies -- which supply almost a third of farm income in rich nations -- with a single payment that isn't tied to what a farmer produces, and set aside some of the savings for rural development.
The agriculture negotiations are being held up by the French government, which wants to keep part of the aid paid to farmers dependent on the crops they produce. That type of aid acts as a production incentive and drives down prices, distorting global markets.
``We are working very hard even at this moment to make sure we do move forward in our negotiations,'' Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said. Greece holds the EU's rotating presidency. The EU's trade partners, including the U.S., Australia and Brazil, say that Europe must change its farm aid if there is to be success in global trade talks at the World Trade Organization this year.
The EU nations are meeting in Luxembourg again today to bridge their differences before a meeting this week of ministers from major trading partners in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and the annual U.S.-EU summit at the White House next week.
Rich countries, led by the European Union, increased agricultural subsidies by 3.5 percent to $235 billion last year, even as they tried to reach a trade agreement to cut that support, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which represents 30 of the world's wealthiest democratic nations, said earlier this month.
The OECD report said that EU subsidies rose 15 percent to more than $100 billion, two-and-a-half times the size of U.S. payments. The agriculture assistance deprives the poor in Africa and Asia of as much as $100 billion a year in income, according to the researchers.
MGR Archive 19.6.2003
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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