Brazil farm lobby wants government to make more concessions in the WTO

Brazil''s leading farm lobby urged the government on Monday 15 October to make further concessions on industry tariffs and help avoid prolonging the stalemate in the World Trade Organisation''s (WTO''s) Doha round of negotiations.

Brazil, India, South Africa and other developing countries, which rely heavily on agriculture exports, last week called for more opt-outs from proposed cuts in tariffs on industrial goods as part of the trade talks.

Leaders from the three countries will meet later this week in South Africa. Trade officials from the US and the European Union said those demands threaten the Doha Round.

Brazil''s agriculture confederation CAN feels the country''s proposal on industry tariffs doesn''t go far enough. Gilman Viana Rodrigues, CNA''s head of foreign trade told the media on Monday: "If we want to do business we have to offer something in return."

Both the United States and the European Union want to continue working on the basis of texts WTO mediators presented in July, which provide them access to developing country markets for manufactured goods and services, in return for cutting trade-distorting farm subsidies. But many developing countries are unhappy with the proposals. Others, like India, say they need serious revision.

Rodrigues said it was not India or South Africa but Brazil''s industry that was to blame for the country''s modest trade proposals. " Our industry is very conservative, and wants to mount a radical defence of their products with this tariff issue," Rodrigues said. He said his country''s industrialists were the ones holding up the Doha round.

Brazil, one of the world''s largest agricultural producers, has been a major player in the Doha talks, which were launched in 2001 but have been delayed by big differences over how to cut barriers to farm and industrial goods. The government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has repeatedly said that rich countries need to do more than developing nations to make a deal possible.