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Global Dairy Alliance supports WTO developments

Global Dairy Alliance supports WTO Agriculture developments

The six nation Global Dairy Alliance has welcomed European comments suggesting a willingness to move on export subsidies.

The European developments were advised by EC Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and EC Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler in a letter of 10 May 2004 and made public at last week's Ministerial meeting in Paris.

GDA Chairman, Osvaldo Cappellini, said "their readiness to move on export subsidies was an important contribution to improving the prospects for reaching a framework agreement by July.

"While the EU has finally offered to move on export subsidies they have also stated that they would only do so 'if an acceptable outcome emerges on market access and domestic support'," said Mr Cappellini who also took issue with the EU's continuing support for a 'blended' approach to tariff reductions.

The Lamy/Fishler letter restates the EU's commitment to the 'blended' approach which seeks only limited cuts in tariffs and very modest increases in Tariff Rate Quotas volumes.

Mr Cappellini noted that the GDA cannot support the blended formula approach. "It simply fails to deliver on the Doha Declaration calling for 'substantial increase in market access'," he said. "The blended approach will only serve to allow the EU, US and others to maintain ridiculously limited access for dairy products - with little or no progress beyond the limited gains of the Uruguay Round. This would be totally unacceptable."

In commenting, Mr. Cappellini pointed out that, while rapid and total elimination of export subsidies must be at the heart of a framework agreement in the WTO Doha Development Agenda, it must be balanced with progress on the other two key issues of access and reduced domestic support.

Mr. Cappellini also noted that the EU proposal was unclear on how quickly subsidies would be eliminated and whether the same timetable would apply for all commodities. "We want rapid elimination and we certainly don't want a different, slower scale for dairy", he said.

The Global Dairy Alliance represents non-subsidised dairy exporting countries and focuses on advocating the benefits of international free trade in dairy produce. Its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand and Uruguay.

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