Rich countries reject development-oriented proposal

May 15, 2002

Representatives from nine Third World countries, led by Cuba, proposed during a February World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiation session that future agricultural trade rules should be geared towards meeting the Third World's development needs.

One proposal advocated exempting developing countries' "basic food security crops" from subsidy reductions and other commitments and to allow renegotiation on the level of tariffs allowable on these crops.

Another proposal stated that the subsidies used in Third World countries could increase production of staple crops, to provide credit to farmers to improve their competitiveness and marketing, and to lower transportation costs should also be exempted from WTO commitments.

A further item called for a simplified "safeguard mechanism" for developing countries so that they can better respond to surging imports of food security crops.

The nine demanded the creation of penalty provisions to stop subsidised farm imports that displace domestic production in developing countries.

Following strong opposition from the US and the EU, the package was rejected.

From Green Left Weekly, May 15, 2002.
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