Time Frames Considered Critical for WTO Negotiators

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2171. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 21 June 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2171

The Canadian Pork Council expects the next couple of weeks to be critical as negotiators work toward hammering out a new global trade agreement.

Two representatives of the Canadian Pork Council will travel to Geneva later this month to monitor developments as agriculture and trade ministers representing World Trade Organization member nations join their negotiating teams to attempt to reach a basic international trade agreement.

CPC Executive Director Martin Rice suggests, with the US trade negotiating authority due to expire in about a year, the negotiating schedule is getting tight so the modalities, or basic structural outline, need to be hammered out within the next four to six weeks.

"I believe the issue of export competition, that covers export subsidies and state trading enterprises, while there are some major questions outstanding, that pillar of the negotiations I think has the most chance of being completed.

In the areas of the domestic support and the changes in tariffs, both for the sensitive and the non-sensitive products, are the biggest hurdles and these will require substantial movement by not just the European Union and the United States but really all the major agricultural exporting and importing countries.

Another important element will be what is agreed to in the non-agriculture market access because countries like India and Brazil will have to be accommodating in that area to get the movement that they are looking for and we are looking for as well from the US and the European Union."

Rice says there are many opinions that suggest the negotiations have too far to go in the available time, but that's been the case in every negotiating session.

He acknowledges countries are not going to play their most sensitive cards until they can be sure that, when they do so, they'll get the results they need.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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