In China, Brazilian President Tries to Keep WTO Talks’ Flame Alive

Lula meets Jintao in China The Brazilian minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, stated that the result of the latest meeting of the Doha Round, held in Geneva, should have a negative effect on the world food crisis. According to him, the main issue that might harm production in poor countries is subsidized production of agricultural commodities in wealthy countries.

f"The relation between the agreement and the food crisis resides in the matter of subsidies. This is not the only issue, but it is the main one. When farmers are subsidized in the United States or Europe, production in impoverished countries is discouraged," explained the minister, this Thursday, July 7, during an interview granted to radio stations at the studios of the Brazilian Communication Company.

"Investment by the productive sector depends on market incentives. What the Doha Round does is create a positive environment for encouraging investors. If it fails, then this encouragement does not take place."

The minister refrained from using the term 'failure' to describe the negotiations, as the Brazilian government does not consider that conversations are over with other countries, in order to close multilateral deals that will ensure good working conditions for farmers in emerging countries.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva himself, who is on a trip to Beijing, where he will attend the opening of the Olympic Games, discussed the matter with the president of China, Hu Jintao, and intends to make a telephone call to the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, in an attempt to resume negotiations.

Last week, Lula discussed the matter by telephone with the president of the United States, George W. Bush. In the opinion of Amorim, even though the lack of an agreement might cause serious damage to Brazil, the country is still able to compete on an international level better than impoverished nations are.

"Brazil might even be able to resist, to face these subsidies, although they will do us serious damage. We went to the WTO World Trade Organization to complain about them. But there are countries poorer and with less resources than Brazil, countries that do not count on an Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) as Brazil does, and countries that are unable to go up against the subsidized production of wealthy nations."

"It is a paradox. There is an element that could even be used as a food aid, however it creates a dependency, an inability of poorer countries to cater to their own demand, or to the demand of other countries," asserted the minister.

ABr

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