WMC REPORT - Appeal for Trade Talks to Resume

SOUTH AFRICA - The EU is going to "strain every muscle to get a deal" in the World Trade Organisation negotiations, writes TheCattleSite Senior Editor, Chris Harris.
calendar icon 10 September 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

This was the promise from the Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel to the World Meat Congress delegates in South Africa.

The commissioner regretted the collapse of the negotiations in Geneva earlier this year and said that she expected more bilateral trade agreements now to emerge around the world.

"I see this as an enormous lost opportunity. It was a chance to push ahead with a sensible, balanced package of trade liberalisation that could have brought widespread benefits - mainly, but not only, to developing countries," she said.

"If we want the meat sector to prosper, we need to have the right regulatory framework in place"
Mariann Fischer Boel, EU Agriculture Commissioner

"Presumably, we will now do our best to put this all back on track. Also, the floor is open for bilateral agreements. But these will never be vehicles for agreeing to cut trade-distorting domestic support.

"With this in mind, the European Union strained every muscle to help get a deal, right up to the end."

She added, "We don't know when multilateral talks will resume in any substantial sense. If and when they do resume, we don't know what the starting-point will be.

"For the European Union, this makes it more difficult to carry on the negotiations for bilateral trade deals that are under discussion.

"And there are worrying signs that, instead of a Doha deal, we may now see a rapid increase in the frequency of WTO panels."

Mrs Fischer Boel said that the last 25 years have brought a great deal of structural change to the European meat industry, because of developments on both the demand side and the supply side.

"There are further challenges ahead - for the European sector and around the world - not least because of the collapse of the Doha Round talks in Geneva," she concluded.

"If we want the meat sector to prosper, we need to have the right regulatory framework in place. The European Union is doing its share of the necessary work - not only in terms of international trade, but also by putting food safety and quality at centre-stage, and by adjusting its agricultural policy to tomorrow's realities."

TheCattleSite News Desk

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