Search

 

Cablegate: Turkish Officials Comment On Wto Agriculture

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 008304

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


STATE FOR EUR/SE, EB/EPD, AND EB/TPP/ABT
DEPT PLEASE PASS USTR FOR NOVELLI, DBIRDSEY, JHOFEMEISTER,
AND SLOAN
USDA FOR FAS FOR ITP/BERTSCH, MACKE, MEYER, THORBURN
USDOC FOR DEFALCO


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EAGR KPAO TU
SUBJECT: Turkish Officials Comment on WTO Agriculture
Issues


Ref: State 224192


Sensitive but Unclassified. Not for Internet Distribution.


1. (SBU) SUMMARY. TURKISH OFFICIALS REITERATED THEIR
SUPPORT FOR LIBERALIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL TRADE BUT
ARGUED THAT HIGH TARIFFS AND SOME DOMESTIC SUPPORT
PROGRAMS MUST BE MAINTAINED IN ORDER TO PROTECT TURKISH
PRODUCERS AGAINST IMPORTS. THESE SAME OFFICIALS STATED
THAT SELF-SUFFICIENCY IN AGRICULTURE WAS A PRIMARY GOAL
FOR THE GOVERNMENT. REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE MINISTRY
OF FOREIGN TRADE AFFAIRS WILL CARRY THIS MESSAGE TO THE
UPCOMING MEETINGS IN GENEVA. END SUMMARY.


2. (SBU) DURING THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 10, AGCOUNSELOR
MET WITH OFFICIALS FROM TURKEY'S MINISTRY OF
AGRICULTURE (MARA) AND MINISTRY OF FOREIGN TRADE (MFT)
TO DISCUSS THE UPCOMING MEETINGS IN GENEVA AT WHICH
AGRICULTURAL TRADE LIBERALIZATION WOULD BE DISCUSSED.
MANY OF THE POINTS NOTED IN REFTEL WERE RAISED.
ALTHOUGH NEW OFFICIALS HAVE NOT BEEN PLACED AFTER THE
RECENT ELECTIONS, TURKISH OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN ACTIVELY
INVOLVED IN THE PLANNING FOR THE UPCOMING TALKS.


--------------------------------------------- ---
ELIMINATION OF EXPORT SUBSIDIES: A POSITIVE MOVE
--------------------------------------------- ---


3. (SBU) BOTH MINISTRIES SUPPORTED THE ELIMINATION OF
EXPORT SUBSIDIES. TURKEY UTILIZED EXPORT SUBSIDIES IN
THE PAST. HOWEVER LACK OF FUNDING DUE TO THE ECONOMIC
CRISIS HAS FORCED TURKEY TO ABANDON THIS PRACTICE.
COMMENT. IN VARIOUS MEETINGS WITH TURKISH OFFICIALS,
ONE HAS THE SENSE THAT, IF MONEY WERE AVAILABLE, TURKEY
WOULD LIKE TO AGAIN SUBSIDIZE AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS,
PARTICULARLY SUGAR. END COMMENT. TURKISH OFFICIALS
COMMENTED THAT SUBSIDIZED EXPORTS FROM THE EUROPEAN
UNION WERE A REAL THREAT TO TURKEY.


----------------------------
DOMESTIC SUPPORT: MIXED BAG
----------------------------


4. (SBU) MARA Under Secretary Ayanoglu stated that within
the next two years, the Turkish government would end all
domestic support programs for agriculture. As a result, at
least MARA officials supported the elimination of domestic
support programs. However, MFT officials provided
additional details on this issue. Although the Government
of Turkey (GOT) believes that domestic support programs in
developed countries, particularly in the European Union and
the United States, put Turkish agriculture at a
disadvantage, they will continue to support providing direct
payments linked to certain production-limiting policies
under the "blue" box exemption. In addition, the GOT will
not support any reductions or restrictions for "green box"
(permitted) policies which are generally, taxpayer-funded
policies that do not involve transfers from consumers and do
not have the effect of providing price support to producers.
GOT officials seemed to indicate a willingness to consider
reduction in amber box programs which include a country's
support measures linked to production or prices. However, it
is probable that the GOT will follow the EU's lead on this
issue.


--------------------------
TARIFFS MUST BE MAINTAINED
--------------------------


5. (SBU) TURKISH OFFICIALS MAINTAIN THAT THEY MUST
CONTINUE TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO APPLY EXCEEDINGLY HIGH
TARIFFS ON AGRICULTURE PRODUCTS IN ORDER TO PROTECT ITS
AGRICULTURE SECTOR. GIVEN THE HIGH RATE OF
UNEMPLOYMENT IN RURAL AREAS COUPLED WITH LOW INCOME
LEVELS, THE GOT WILL PROTECT TURKISH AGRICULTURE
AGAINST ALL THREATS, I.E. COMPETITION. ONE OFFICIAL
NOTED THAT THE GOT NEEDED TO SUPPORT EMPLOYMENT IN
AGRICULTURE IN ORDER TO STEM THE FLOW OF UNEMPLOYED
WORKERS TO URBAN AREAS. MFT OFFICIALS NOTED THAT,
DURING PREVIOUS MEETINGS IN GENEVA, THE GOT WOULD ONLY
CONSIDER A REDUCTION IN TARIFFS IF DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
ELIMINATED EXPORT SUBSIDIES AND ALL DOMESTIC SUPPORT
PROGRAMS. TARIFFS, AS ONE OFFICIAL STATED, WERE THE
ONLY MEANS TO PROTECT TURKISH AGRICULTURE. AS A RESULT,
THE GOT WILL NOT SUPPORT THE SWISS 25 PROPOSAL.


--------------------------------------------- ---------
COMMENT: PROTECTION AND SELF SUFFICIENCY AT ALL COSTS
--------------------------------------------- ---------


6. (SBU) DESPITE THE RELATIVELY HIGH COST TO
CONSUMERS, THE GOT'S ULTIMATE GOAL TO ATTAIN SELF-
SUFFICIENCY IN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION. GOT OFFICIALS
BELIEVE THAT TURKEY SHOULD NOT BE IMPORTING ANY FOOD
PRODUCT THAT IT CAN GROW ITSELF. GIVEN THE PERCENTAGE
OF THE POPULATION STILL LIVING IN RURAL AREAS AND THE
HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, THE GOT BELIEVES THAT IT MUST DO
EVERYTHING IN ITS POWER TO SUPPORT ITS AGRICULTURE
SECTOR. WHILE ON ONE LEVEL, THEY BELIEVE THAT
LIBERALIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL TRADE WILL BE A POSITIVE
STEP, IT IS UNABLE TO SUPPORT ANY INTERNATIONAL
POLICIES THAT WOULD JEOPARDIZE THE ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
FOR ITS RURAL POPULATION.
PEARSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


UN: Pope's Visit To Iraq "A Symbol Of Hope"

The visit by Pope Francis to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul at the weekend will be a symbol of hope and an opportunity to join forces for peace and unity, the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, said on Thursday, ahead of his touchdown in the capital, Baghdad... More>>

Myanmar: Military Must Stop Murdering And Jailing Protestors – Bachelet

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said security forces in Myanmar must “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors,” following another day of deadly violence across the country on Wednesday... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


Podcast: A UN Top Official’s Inspiring Journey To Leadership

UN Under-Secretary for Global Communications Melissa Fleming speaks to Agnes Kalibata, the Special Envoy to the 2021 Food Systems Summit, about her journey as a woman leader – from growing up as a Rwandan refugee in Uganda to becoming Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and now a top official at the United Nations... More>>

UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>