Brazil and France Agree It’s Time for the US to Yield on Farm Subsidies

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said yesterday, May 25, that an agreement within the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to reduce agricultural subsidies will only be possible if the European countries and the United States are willing to concede more.

"All sides think they have already done all they could. All sides think they have already granted all they could, but the concrete fact is that there is still no agreement, because not even the parties themselves believe they have done all they were required to do," he commented, following a meeting with the president of France, Jacques Chirac, in the Alvorada Palace.

"The Americans must make concessions, because subsidies in the United States are very high and create an imbalance in international agricultural trade. Europe can make more concessions in terms of market access," Lula considered.

For his part, Chirac stated that Europe has already conceded enough by lowering its subsidies 45% and that it is time for the United States to yield.

According to the French president, the Americans have not modified any aspect of their agricultural policy and are the ones with "the key to the puzzle." "It is incorrect to say that Europe is a closed market; it is largely open," Chirac emphasized.

The Brazilian President recollected that both Brazil and the G-20 are also willing to make some concessions, since the rich nations insist that the emerging countries must open their markets for industrial goods.

The G-20, which was founded in August, 2003, is composed of 21 developing countries that got together to deal with agricultural issues.

Iran Urged to Comply

Lula declared that Iran has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes as long as it complies with international rules.

The declaration was made following talks with French President, Jacques Chirac. "Iran has to comply with the [international] agreements that all of us have signed on to. We need to respect the principle of multilateralism and the institutions we ourselves have created. That way the world will be more safe and peaceful," said Lula.

Chirac added that he agreed with what Lula said. "The problem is respect for international decisions that are binding on all of us," he said.

Agência Brasil

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