Cablegate: Amorim Briefs Congress On Cancun Ministerial
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 003070
NSC FOR JOANNA WALLACE
TREASURY FOR OASIA/BACKES, SEGAL
PLS PASS FED BOARD OF GOVERNORS FOR WILSON, ROBATAILLE
USDOC FOR 4322/ITA/IEP/WH/OLAC-SC
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN PGOV BR FTAA
SUBJECT: AMORIM BRIEFS CONGRESS ON CANCUN MINISTERIAL
1. ECONFSN attended the September 17 presentation on
WTO issues by Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim to
the Chamber of Deputies Foreign Affairs Committee after
the FM's return from the 9/10-14 Cancun Ministerial.
This was FM Amorim's second appearance this month
before the Committee at the latter's invitation. His
tone was confident but restrained, with no hint of
triumphalism despite the many accolades to him from
deputies and parts of Brazil's media since Cancun's
denouement. Following are the main points addressed
during FM Amorim's 45-minute testimony followed by a 75-
minute Q and A session.
2. Points made:
-- It is too early for a complete detailed analysis of
the Cancun meeting, as the Brazilian delegation members
were still digesting the events and implications.
-- G22 genesis: in the past, the U.S. had aligned with
the Cairns Group versus the EU; this time the U.S. and
EU had come to Cancun with a joint defensive position.
Having Mexico as the conference leader and Singapore as
Ag facilitator helped allow the formation of the G22
(or, Amorim said, the G20+, as he expects more
-- The raising of Singapore issues by the conference
had caused a mutiny by India and "little-bitty"
-- The WTO remains the legitimate, "non-replaceable"
forum in which Brazil should pursue its trade
interests. Amorim repeatedly stressed this point. He
also made clear that, in Brazil's view, Cancun was not
a failure, and the Doha Round negotiations are an
ongoing process which will not fade away. It is better
for Brazil that the Round "skid" for six months or even
a year so as to end up with a sufficient agreement than
to wait fifteen years for a new WTO round to give
desired results. He added that, although still not
ideal, the Conference's paper on agriculture at the end
of the event was better than the initial one.
-- The G20+ is a coalition only for agricultural
matters. A G20+ meeting is likely to be held at some
point, during which implications of the end of the
Peace Clause in December may be considered. After the
expiration of the Peace Clause there will be potential
WTO cases from which Brazil can benefit; however, said
Amorim, "rhetorical battle" should be avoided.
-- The coalition of the G20+ has brought more
equilibrium into the WTO. Given that the new group
represents 65% of the world's agricultural production
and about half of the planet's population, the group
has sufficient weight to negotiate with the U.S. and
EU. It did not split the "monolith" of the U.S. and
EU, but found some "cracks" between them representing
areas where advances can be made.
-- Amorim was not sure why the EU backed down over
Singapore issues and was willing to accept just one
Singapore issue being discussed.
-- Amorim said he did not believe the U.S. or the EU
would retaliate against Brazil for the latter's conduct
at Cancun. He said the issues involved are ones that
can be worked out in future negotiations. He mentioned
a timeframe of perhaps six months for negotiations on
agriculture to pick up again.
-- Asked about implications for ALCA, FM Amorim
declined to comment for the moment, on the grounds that
the subject needed a deeper assessment and that
anything he would say would be reported nationwide, as
the press was present in numbers. He simply noted that
one lesson had been learned by Brazil: if the agenda is
too heavy, negotiations become complicated. Amorim
made a comparison to flying an overweighted airplane,
and said he hoped other parties have learned the keep-
it-simple lesson as well.
-- Amorim likewise declined to respond to the question
of whether the U.S. strategy to pursue bilateral trade
agreements would weaken the G20+. He only commented
that countries considering negotiating bilaterally with
the U.S. should think carefully, because to negotiate
with a country that subsidizes its agricultural sector
raises the possibility of damaging one's own
-- Amorim also made a reference in the middle of his
speech to the EU being more protectionist than the U.S.