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EU Commissioner Wants Better WTO Offers from U.S. and India

Mariann Fischer Boel says the U.S. hasn't done enough to cut trade-distorting ag subsidies.

The European Union's top agriculture official said Monday the United States and India need to offer more, if they hope to reach a deal in long delayed World Trade Organization talks. "All the big players must get serious about cutting trade-distorting domestic support, and there must be real discipline on all forms of export subsidies," Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said, adding that India could do better on market access.

The EU would like the U.S. Congress to write a new farm bill that cuts deeper into the most-trade distorting subsidies - classified as 'amber' and 'blue' box subsidies by the WTO. "The current draft of the new farm bill pushes in the right direction, but not far enough. I hope to see a final version which really reins in trade-distorting domestic support programs in the US - one of the main stumbling blocks for the successful Doha Round at present." She mentioned in particular dairy and sugar. Fischer Boel's comments came as trade ministers from India, the EU, U.S. and Brazil wrapped up a series of European meetings to try to advance the Doha round talks.

Beyond U.S. subsidies, negotiators are also having trouble with market access, a central concern for exporters. Fischer Boel called on the coalition government in New Delhi to offer imports better access to India's domestic markets than it has so far offered. She said trade is hampered by India's "very high" import tariffs on agricultural products, and the use of non-tariff barriers to block imports.

Source: Feedstuffs

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