Cablegate: Uk Official Pessimistic On Trade Agenda
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHLO #1555 1570815
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 050815Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8839
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHED/AMCONSUL EDINBURGH PRIORITY 0940
RUEHBL/AMCONSUL BELFAST PRIORITY 1071
UNCLAS LONDON 001555
DEPT ALSO FOR USTR
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EAGR UK EU
SUBJECT: UK OFFICIAL PESSIMISTIC ON TRADE AGENDA
1. (SBU) Summary: A UK trade official told Econoff the UK is
worried that the Doha Development Agreement round of trade
talks will not succeed, which would be a serious blow. He
said the U.S. and others need to offer more. On TEC, he said
member states, not well briefed by the EU Commission, tended
to believe the U.S. got more from the latest round than the
EU did, which may have contributed to the subsequent vote
against the EU's proposal on U.S. poultry. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Econoff reviewed Doha, TEC and related issues with
John Souttar (protect) Bilateral Trade Officer at the UK's
Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
(BERR) June 2.
TEC/Poultry -- U.S. Got Too Much
3. (SBU) The UK supports the EU Trade Commissioner's
'science-based' stance allowing U.S. poultry into the
European Union, Souttar said. (Note: In fact, the British
abstained in the June 2 vote in the EU Standing Committee on
Food Chain and Animal Health, the only member state not to
vote against the Commission proposal.) Souttar said Germany
bore watching, because of popular pressure on the Merkel
government to adopt more protectionist measures. Without
German support, the proposal would not go far, Souttar
warned. He hoped the U.S. was engaging in quiet talks with
key players to come up with an acceptable compromise.
4. (SBU) Most member states tended to view the most recent
meeting of the TEC as a victory for the U.S., Souttar said.
He faulted the Commission for failing to engage with the
member states on TEC issues, which made the "pro-U.S."
poultry proposal even more unpalatable. He said UK lead on
poultry is the Department of the Environment, Farming and
Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Souttar reiterated his (and the
UK's) longstanding support for the TEC process. If the
world's largest traders cannot resolve their differences, he
asked, who can?
Doha Could Fail -- U.S. Must Do More
5. (SBU) Souttar raised and then returned repeatedly to the
state of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations. He
said the UK is very concerned that they would not succeed.
He pointedly said the U.S. (among others) needed to offer
more. When Econoff reminded him that the U.S. made a
substantial offer on agricultural subsidies early in the
negotiation, Souttar was dismissive. He said the UK shares
the view of many that the U.S. offer on subsidies was "water"
(i.e., cutting theoretical subsidies, because actual U.S.
subsidies were already much lower.) He noted that the
President did not mention the DDA in his May 23 speech
marking World Trade Week, focusing instead on bilateral
agreements. Souttar said this omission was interpreted as
the U.S. "giving up" on the DDA. The UK, Souttar stressed,
very much wanted Doha to succeed. The alternative to
progress on trade liberalization, he feared, was not
stagnation, but deterioration, as evidenced by recent trade
barriers by food exporters.
EPAs Not Moving
6. (SBU) Souttar said the EU Economic Partnership Agreements
were a "can of worms". He judged that the partner countries
have already pocketed the advantages of open access to the EU
market, and felt no urgency in offering reciprocal access.
Many countries of the South still felt a strong sense of
entitlement when dealing with the North. India, for example,
still expected the UK to make "amends" for its colonial
history by offering asymmetrical trade arrangements
benefiting the ex-colony. On the bureaucratic front, Souttar
gave mixed grades a year after the merger of trade
responsibilities between his Department and that for
International Development (DfID). He acknowledged that some
duplication had been eliminated, but thought overall DfID had
too great a share of the action, thanks to a larger budget.
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