Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has sent a letter to the leaders of the European Union (EU), proposing that the bloc open its markets to agricultural goods from developing countries.
"We nurture the hope that this proposal is aimed at an effective liberalization of markets for fresh and processed agricultural goods from developing countries," Lula says in the letter.
The document was addressed to the presidents of France, Jacques Chirac, and Italy, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, and the prime ministers of Spain, José Luís Zapatero, and Portugal, José Sócrates. The letter was made public by Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations.
Lula said that the negotiations over agriculture could stall at the next ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in Hong Kong, in December, if the developed countries do not move forward in market liberalization.
He assured that the G-20 (a group of 20 developing countries led by Brazil, South Africa, and India) is willing "to do its part, if there is balance and proportionality as well from its major partners."
"There will only be a spur to agricultural negotiations, if a significant reduction in tariffs and non-tariff barriers is contemplated, beyond what was agreed upon in the Uruguay Round. The success of the ministerial conference in Hong Kong, and of the Doha Round itself, depends upon the effort made by our global partners in this vital trade sector for the developing countries," the President affirms in the letter.
In his view, if the European Union liberalizes its markets, other countries, such as the United States, may follow the example.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations informed that the President also sent the letter to the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso.