The World Trade Organisation has issued fresh drafts
on the most contentious issues of lowering farm subsidies
and cutting industrial tariffs, in a renewed effort
to bring the global trade talks back on track.
fresh drafts would "kicks off another intensive
series of meetings for members to try to reach agreement,
and probably to amend the draft", a WTO statement
the revised draft, the US would have to cut farm subsidies
to between $13 billion and $16.4 billion a year. Its
current limit is around $48 billion, while Washington
has offered in the WTO negotiations a new cap of $17
European Union has to cut its highest tariffs on farm
imports by 73 per cent, more than the 60 per cent it
has offered so far.
draft says between 4 and 6 per cent of farm products
in most developed countries can be classed "sensitive"
and which can therefore be protected from the full impact
of tariff cuts. The US and some poor countries had called
for a 1 per cent limit and the EU originally supported
8 per cent.
draft did not specify tariff lines on "special"
products that the developing countries deem as protected
from tariff cuts and instead suggested guidelines.
US wants countries such as India not to protect large
sectors of agriculture against farm imports.
countries would also cut import tariffs on industrial
goods, such as cars or chemicals, but not by as much
as rich nations, the draft said.
A 19-23 range of coefficients for developing countries
in a tariff-cutting formula is less demanding than a
level of 15 sought by the EU and the US. But it is deeper
than a level of 30 proposed by Brazil and other countries.
proposal would leave developing countries with industrial
goods import tariffs below 12 per cent on average and
only a handful would have them above 15 per cent although
the very poorest countries would have more protection.
countries would cut tariffs to below 3 per cent on average
with "peaks," or high tariffs for some individual
products, under 10 per cent.
Major developing countries like Brazil, China and India
will also have to offer greater market opportunities
for industrial exports, according to the new draft prepared
by agriculture and manufacturing mediators.
WTO said the drafts are based on member governments''
latest positions in negotiations and are an assessment
of what might be agreed for the formula for cutting
tariffs and trade-distorting farm subsidies, and related
European Commission spokesman said the fresh trade proposals
advocating sharp cuts in US government subsidies for
farmers and in industrial import duties imposed by emerging
nations can be a useful basis for further work although
there points which pose concerns.
negotiator Peter Power said, "it is certainly something
that we can work with." He, however, declined to
specify the points of concern.
will come to a position over the coming days in consultation
with our member states, and this position will be presented
in Geneva on Monday," he said.
trade commissioner Peter Mandelson will discuss the
proposals with EU trade ministers over dinner on Sunday.
analysts, however, said the documents do not indicate
any common ground between the extreme positions of the
developing and developed countries with regard to the
formula and the modalities for reduction of farm subsidies.
WTO released these drafts within a few weeks of the
collapse of talks among the four key players
India, Brazil, EU and the US in Potsdam, Germany. WTO
chief Pascal Lamy wanted the talks to continue in Geneva
despite failure of the four important players to bridge
Doha Round of world trade talks was to conclude in the
beginning of 2005 and is running much behind the original