Report from 30th May Meeting

Jens Schaps from DG Trade, European Commission, presented slides (here in PDF) on the current status of agriculture in the Doha Development Agenda. Between the preparation of the slides and his oral delivery cuts to domestic support had been increased from 60 to 70%. Export subsidies are to be eliminated altogether by 2014. Tobias Reichert of the German NGO Forum on Environment and Development asked whether that could not be done earlier.

In the afternoon Peter Balas from DG Trade, European Commission, reported with some optimism just before leaving for negotitions in Geneva. He asserted that the EU had offered 70% "of trade-distorting subsidies" versus 60% "real reductions" by the US. Balas asserted that the EU is offering 40% NAMA cuts versus Brazil's cut of only 1% (from tarif of 11 down to 10), a comparison later challenged by Oxfam in the specifics of bound versus applied tariffs and the Swiss coefficient. In that difference lies the policy space. "Sensitive products" are not eligible for cuts. "Special products" are given more favorable treatment for purposes such as food security, rural development and poverty alleviation in developing countries.

Separately an Open Letter to Commissioner Mandelson was published by several NGOs in the Financial Times, which provoked comment on the BBC.
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