Negotiations focus on domestic support for agriculture

The next round of the WTO will be held in Argentina

The European Commission is preparing the next round of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will be held in Argentina from 11 to 14 December 2017, by defining its position on the issues to be addressed, including domestic support for agriculture. The Commission is also organizing ministerial meetings, and has already scheduled two such meetings in June, in Paris, and in September.

The agricultural pillar of the negotiations is one of the main and most complex axes of the controversies, since it includes the discussion on the direct subsidies to the agricultural sector and the reduction of tariffs.

The negotiation is focusing on domestic support for agriculture and not on the elimination of tariffs, as reported at the XVI meeting of the Consultative Committee on International Negotiations of the Ministry of Economy, held last week. The EU will propose removing the amber box of the three current boxes that include agricultural aid (green, amber, and blue) so that the green box groups get all the aid that doesn't distort World trade, and the blue box groups all the distorting aids. EU agricultural aid is mainly included within the green box, which is not currently under discussion.

Agricultural aid in the context of the WTO varies strongly between the different members, ranging from 10% to 70%. The US agricultural aid amounts to 40% of the value of its agricultural production, and in the EU it represents 21%, with a very unequal distribution by sectors.

According to FEPEX, multilateral and WTO negotiations, as well as bilateral agreements between the EU and third countries, should take into account European values, as set out in the Commission Communication on trade policy of October 14, 2015. As proposed in this communication, entitled "Trade for all: towards a more responsible trade and investment policy", the EU has high levels of protection for consumers, the environment, labor and social rights that must be maintained and the use of trade agreements and preference programs should serve as levers to promote these values around the world. 


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