Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Ambassador Celso Amorim, called on the different groups of developing nations to unite, in order to make possible the advancement of negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"The G20 message is for unity. I’m convinced that only by preserving our unity and strengthening our natural coalition, we will be able to ensure the accomplishment of the Doha Agenda," said Amorim during the African Union’s Ministerial Conference on the WTO Negotiations. The meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, ends today.
The G20 is a group of developing nations, led by Brazil, which negotiates fairer rules for agricultural international trade. Other developing groups include the African, Caribbean and Pacific nations (ACP), and the Least Developed Countries (LDC), which together integrate the G90, the group of the poorest countries in the world.
The Minister reaffirmed the priority of agriculture negotiations at the Doha Round – series of WTO negotiations that began in the city of Doha, capital of the Emirate of Qatar, in 2001.
"Even though the development agenda encompasses a series of important subjects, I consider that the largest potential for positive changes lies with the agricultural sector. It is through agriculture that developing nations can be more competitive and capable of participating in the international market. Furthermore, it is also in the agriculture area that we find the largest distortions."
During his speech, Amorim affirmed that market access through tariff reduction and quotas is an important step, but not enough. He evaluates that these measures can be innocuous when compared to distorting practices, such as the subsidies paid by developed countries to their farmers.
As an example, he mentioned subsidies given to cotton exporters, from 1999 to 2002, by the United States. American producers got US$ 12.5 billion from the government, which represented 89.5% of the US$ 13.9 billion harvest. Brazil complained against this US practice at the WTO and won the dispute.
"It is completely unfair for our farmers to compete with the Treasury of wealthy countries. This is the reason why agriculture is at the heart of the Doha Development Agenda, and is so important for developing nations," said the Minister.
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