The regions, which are two of the world’s largest agricultural producers, submitted a joint proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday, 17 July. The aim of the initiative is to limit market distortions and to provide a level playing field for farmers, while considering the particular needs of developing countries.
Colombia, Peru and Uruguay have already shown their support for the project and are co-sponsors of the proposal. Agricultural domestic support will be a topic of discussion at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference taking place in Buenos Aires, in December 2017.
‘Ambitious and realistic’
“Together with Brazil and other countries, we are demonstrating our staunch support for a global trading system based on rules, at an important time for the World Trade Organization,” said the EU’s commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmström.
“Our proposal is at once ambitious and realistic. It will ensure we can have forward-looking and, hopefully, successful negotiations on this important issue in Buenos Aires.”
The joint proposals would aim to limit trade-distorting farm subsidies between WTO members in relation to the size of the country’s agricultural sector. The least-developed countries in the organisation would be exempt from subsidy limits, to allow them to develop their farming sectors. It also suggested that other developing countries could support their own farming industries in more generous ways.
“I am delighted that the EU and Brazil can continue their leadership role from the 2015 Nairobi Ministerial Conference, where our joint proposal led to the historic reform of global export competition rules in agriculture,” added Phil Hogan, commissioner in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Now we turn our attention to domestic agricultural subsidies. The EU has reformed its agricultural policy. This proposal should lead other WTO members to follow our example and to ensure a level playing field for all farmers in the local, regional and global markets.”