EU Won't Improve Farm Trade Offer

The European Union (EU) went on the offensive in world trade negotiations on Nov. 30, saying it would not enhance its offer on farm trade and accusing the U.S. and others of focusing excessively on farm trade issues.

“I have no plan to make a further offer in agriculture,” EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson told the European Parliament, according to an Associated Press news report.

According to the AP, Mandelson accused the U.S. and others of dawdling, posturing and focusing excessively on farm trade issues at the expense of progress in other areas of liberalizing world trade.

He urged them “to engage seriously on creating new market access for goods and services” by cutting industrial tariffs and liberalizing trade in services.

Separately, representatives of U.S. companies in Europe made a similar appeal Nov. 30.

Mandelson says the farm trade concessions he has put on the table in the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks were “the most substantial offer” the EU has ever made, and that making more “would further unbalance the (WTO) negotiations” that head for a ministerial round in Hong Kong in two weeks.

The EU has offered cuts of 70% in trade-distorting subsidies to farmers and farm product exporters and has offered to cut its average agricultural tariff to 12% from 23%.

Editors note: Richard Brock, The Corn and Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.