15th May 2021

Paris gathers support to block EU farm cuts idea

France has called for an emergency debate on the EU trade commissioner's offer to cut farm subsidies.

The UK presidency is set to schedule a special meeting of foreign, trade and agriculture ministers in Luxembourg for next Tuesday (18 October).

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The meeting is supposed to clear up the differences on the EU position for the so called Doha round of world trade talks, due to be held in Hong Kong in December.

Paris has gathered support from 12 other member states urging trade commissioner Peter Mandelson to discuss the issue with them before making any concessions on agriculture at the international forum, Financial Times reports.

The countries have also backed France in its concerns about the proposed cuts in EU tariffs and subsidies.

Mr Mandelson this week unveiled the plan for a 70 percent reduction in the most trade-distorting subsidies, in a reaction to a US offer for a 60 percent cut in its aid for American farmers.

However, Washington regards the Brussels reform package as insufficient, because its highest agriculture import tariffs would only fall by 50 percent as opposed to 90 percent cuts suggested by US.

WTO chief Pascal Lamy said on Thursday that the US blueprint on tariff cuts was about five times as ambitious as that of the EU.

EU offers to cut farm subsidies

The EU has matched Washington's move and said it is prepared to substantially cut subsidies for its farmers in a bid to get stalled world trade talks moving - but the proposed cuts are set to run into strong opposition from the bloc's member states.

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