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Agricultural trade: WTO proposal proposes to cut distorting aid by 50%

A draft negotiating text from the World Trade Organization (WTO) proposes that members commit to limiting and halving domestic support that distorts agricultural trade by 2030.

The chair of the WTO agricultural trade negotiations, Costa Rican Ambassador Gloria Abraham Peralta, said that, given the limited time before the next Ministerial Summit (MC12) and the continuing divergences on how to discipline domestic support that distorts the trade, your view is that a substantive outcome at MC12 where members would agree on concrete modalities for duty reduction appears to be out of reach.

Instead, she believes that MC12 “can provide a useful intermediate step” forward in the reform process that would define “the way forward for the benefit of all members.”

At the same time, the proposal sets out a work program for agricultural market access after the MC12 negotiations.

Therefore, the aim of the text is to encourage members to find themselves halfway through this high priority area, bearing in mind the common goal of disciplining trade-distorting domestic support.

Agricultural trade

In addition, the text proposes some alternatives to provide a more malleable basis for finding consensus, based on the ideas of the members, the presentations, the reports of the facilitators who have attended the Chair and the consultations.

Market access

Abraham Peralta argued that the inclusion of market access elements in an agricultural package of the 12th Ministerial Conference would help members to achieve a balanced outcome in the ministerial conference.

Its text addresses two components: a decision on some elements inspired by transparency and a work program on post-CTM12 market access negotiations.

Abraham Peralta also said that the draft decision on applied tariff transparency and the treatment of en-route shipments is based mainly on the joint proposal of Australia, Brazil, Canada and Ukraine.

In a post-MC12 market access work program, the text incorporates some elements from the joint proposal of Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Likewise, the text invites members to report on the calculation of rights in cases where such rights are not established in terms of value.

Abraham Peralta noted that this is only to facilitate an informed conversation between members about possible approaches to reducing tariffs.

The text reflects the desire of some members to address non-tariff barriers and recognizes the links between market access and other pillars, especially domestic support.

Export competition

On another side, Abraham Peralta said that the text of this section recognizes the importance of transparency to ensure the proper implementation of the Nairobi Ministerial Decision on Export Competition, as well as the continuation of negotiations after MC12.

The text builds on elements contained in a recent submission from Canada, Chile, Norway and Switzerland suggesting options intended to help members find a balanced path to improve and simplify transparency requirements, taking into account the concerns expressed by a large group of developing countries, warning members against burdensome additional transparency requirements.

 

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