On Friday, October 28, Brazil participated in a teleconference with the government of the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) to debate global tariff policy, particularly for agricultural imports.
The Brazilian minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, said in a press conference that the US proposes a 65% average reduction in current tariff levels, while the EU favors an average cut of 39%.
"We eagerly await the European Union to present its contribution on market access by the end of the week, with proposals for an effective market opening for fresh and processed agricultural products from developing countries," he added.
Brazil’s negotiations are aimed at concluding arrangements to present in Hong Kong at the meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December.
During the press conference, Amorim read a message sent by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on October 25 to the leaders of four European countries (France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal) and the head of the European Commission, Durão Barroso, asking them to back significant reductions in tariffs and non-tariff barriers.
In the message, Lula emphasizes the need for the understandings to reach a satisfactory conclusion, since the negotiations are at a "critical juncture." And he expresses concern over "the prospect of a possible stall in the negotiations on agriculture at the meeting in Hong Kong."
The EU is the world’s largest importer of agricultural products, and "its position in the negotiations will set a standard for the contributions that other countries will be willing to make on this matter," the message goes on to say.
The President emphasizes, moreover, that the position taken by the EU will encourage other partners, "especially the United States, to make additional moves that we consider indispensable as far as domestic subsidies are concerned."