WTO Ministerial Conference 13-18 December 2005 - Hong
focus by the United Nations Office of the High Representative
for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing
Countries and Small Island Developing States
Minister calls on poor countries to unite for WTO negotiations
By Mylena Fiori
Reporter - Agencia Brasil
Published November 24
Brasilia – The 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
this Thursday (24).
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
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.
Translation: Andréa Alves
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