EU, Brazil aim at farm aid
Joint WTO proposal addresses promotion of food security that does not distort the market
22 July, 2017
The EU and Brazil, two of the world's biggest producers of agricultural products, submitted last Monday a joint proposal on support for agricultural production and food security measures to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the EU press service reported. The objective is to limit market distortions, to ensure a global level-playing field for farmers while taking into account particular needs of developing countries. Colombia, Peru and Uruguay, which have expressed support for the initiative, are co-sponsors of the EU-Brazil proposal.
“Together with Brazil and other countries we are demonstrating our staunch support for a global trading system based on rules, at an important time for the WTO. Our proposal is at once ambitious and realistic. It will ensure that we can have forward-looking and hopefully successful negotiations on this important issue,” Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said. “The EU has substantially reformed its agricultural policy. This proposal should lead other WTO Members to follow our example and so ensure a level playing field for all farmers in the local, regional and global markets,” Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan added.
The proposal suggests to level the playing field between WTO members by limiting trade-distorting farm subsidies in proportion to the size of each country's agricultural sector. The initiative takes into account the specific needs of developing countries. Thus the least developed countries would be exempted from any subsidy limits, in order to allow for development of their farming sector, while other developing countries could also support their farmers in a more generous way and take more time to adapt. Given the importance of cotton to many developing countries, the proposal also tackles trade-distorting subsidies for that sector in a targeted, timely and ambitious manner.
As concerns public stockholding schemes run for food-security purposes, the proposal implements the mandate from the 2013 Ministerial Conference to reconcile existing public practices with WTO subsidy rules. Rules on such stockholding schemes would be reinforced and accompanied by measures to avoid negative, distorting market effects.