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EU will phase out farm export subsidies if others follow
The Times (London), May 11, 2004
The European Union offered to phase out billions of euros of controversial farm export subsidies yesterday in an attempt to kickstart the stalled Doha Round on international trade liberalisation negotiations. But, in a direct challenge to the United States, Pascal Lamy, the EU Trade Commissioner, insisted the offer would stand only if other developed countries took similar action.

"We are prepared to put all our export subsidies on the table provided partners agree in parallel to remove their subsidies in an exercise in mutual disarmament," he said.
In particular, the EU is looking to Washington to end its policy of subsidised export credits and its practice of sending surplus domestic production as food aid to developing countries where it distorts local markets.

M Lamy said that other developed countries, notably Canada, Australia and New Zealand, would have to make similar concessions. He singled out the need to reform state trading companies such as the Wheat Board in Canada and the Sugar Board in Australia which are effectively import and export monopolies.

The European Commission offer was tabled in a letter sent yesterday to all 148 members of the World Trade Organisation after M Lamy and his agriculture colleague, Franz Fischler, had sounded out likely reaction to the initiative from developing countries and the EU's main trading partners.

A formal response is expected later this week when many of the key ministers will meet at an OECD summit in Paris.

In contrast to the recriminations that greeted the collapse of the trade liberalisation talks in Cancun last year, diplomats believe there is a willingness to make as much progress as possible before negotiations are put on hold in July in the run-up to the US presidential polls.
MGR Archive 11.5.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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