The European Union considers the draft tariff and subsidy cuts under the new
WTO proposals as too deep at the higher end and too low at the base, even as the
US said pruning farm subsidies to $13 billion a year is "unacceptable."
The new proposals
drafted by Crawford Falconer, who chairs WTO agriculture negotiations, would reduce
the ceiling for overall US trade-distorting subsidies by 66 per cent to 73 per
cent, to between $13 billion and $16.4 billion a year.
per the new draft, most developing nations would keep import tariffs on industrial
goods at an average 12 per cent, much lower than the ceiling countries such as
Brazil and India have sought, while developed countries would cut tariffs to below
3 per cent on average.
new draft texts on agriculture and industry are a step forward in world trade
talks but the range of tariff and subsidy cuts they propose are too tough, Spain''s
el Economista newspaper quoted European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson
would the lower end of the proposed range of cuts help the WTO reach a free trade
agreement, Mandelson said.
top ends of the ranges are too ambitious and the lowest are not enough to make
sure the negotiations result in satisfactory liberalisation," Mandelson was
quoted as saying.
draft says the EU should cut its highest agricultural import tariffs by 73 per
cent against its offer of 60 per cent. It also proposed a cap of $13-16.4 billion
on US farm subsidies, against the Us offer of $17 billion.
will have to negotiate hard to defend Europe''s interests," Mandelson said.
"They (the texts) have helped put pressure on all of us but we have to keep
who met Brazil''s foreign minister Celso Amorim this week, said he saw signs that
Latin America''s largest economy wanted to reach a deal.
however, warned against any corporate protectionism after German Chancellor Angela
Merkel proposed that Europe should look at ways of protecting companies from buyout
worries me that the EU might give the image of closing itself to foreign investment,"
he said. "We should protect our strategic sectors, but intelligently. Thinking
aloud, I wonder if we could create a ''European golden share'' that would be managed
by national governments and the European Commission," he added.
we leave it in the hands of each national government, it will be used simply to
protect national interests."
new draft did not make a specific suggestion, for example, on what percentage
of tariff lines developing countries should be able to protect from tariff cuts,
one of the round''s most contentious issues.
Doha round of trade talks was launched in Qatar in 2001 in a bid to restore confidence
in the world economy and prioritise the development of poor countries but the
talks have been mired in one set of problems after another.