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Cablegate: Unofficial Translation of Article From Le

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 PARIS 007935

SIPDIS

BRUSSELS PASS USEU FOR AGMINCOUNSELOR
STATE FOR OES; EUR/ERA;
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY;
USDA/OS/JOHANNS AND PENN;
USDA/FAS FOR OA/TERPSTRA/ROBERTS;
ITP/SHEIKH/HENKE/MACKE/TOM POMEROY/MIKE
WOOLSEY/GREG YOUNG;
FAA/SEBRANEK/BLEGGI;
EU POSTS PASS TO AGRICULTURE AND ECON
GENEVA FOR USTR, ALSO AGRICULTURE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD FR WTRO EUN
SUBJECT: Unofficial translation of article from Le
Figaro dated November 18, 2005 : "Why development
should be the priority of WTO" by Christine
Lagarde, French Junior Minister for Trade

1. Trade Minister Christine Lagarde has signed two
recent op-ed pieces on the WTO round. The latest,
published on November 21 in the Financial Times
entitled "Big Cuts in Farm Tariffs are No Solution
to Poverty" warns against "blindly slashing"
agricultural tariffs, and proposes focusing on the
value in maintaining the European
"multifunctional" model of a farm, balancing rural
development, food security and environmental
protection. The previous op-ed article, focused on
the importance of development goals in the WTO
negotiations, was published on November 18 in the
right-of-center daily Le Figaro. Available only in
French, it has been translated unofficially by
Embassy Paris and is provided below :

2. "Early December, the World Trade Organization
(WTO) ministerial conference will start in Hong
Kong. This conference is a deciding stage in the
success of the Doha round for "development"
launched in 2001. For France, the stake of these
negotiations is simple. It is to control
globalization and to favor the integration of poor
countries into the world economy so that these
negotiations result in the development of these
countries. Two conditions are necessary.

First the local environment should be favorable.
The quality of facilities, regulations, and
political governance are essential factors. The
challenge of the French cooperation and assistance
policy is to assist these countries in creating
good conditions for development. Trade
negotiations should really take into consideration
the expectations of developing countries. An
uncontrolled liberalization would not benefit poor
countries, which would be in a stranglehold
between the increase of global agricultural prices
and the progressive decrease of trade benefits
granted by developed countries. On the eve of the
Hong Kong Conference, I note that negotiations
have brought no clear answers to the questions of
poor countries.

To put development back into the heart of the
round, I have identified three priorities.

First, all developed countries should open their
markets to products from developing countries and
especially from the poorest of them. The European
Union, the first import market in the world,
already made many efforts to welcome exports from
developing countries and is ready to make more.
With its trade preferences, the most generous in
the world, it imports more agricultural products
from poor countries than the United States, Japan,
Australia, Canada and New Zealand together. The
European Union absorbs three quarters of the
exports from sub-Saharan Africa. This opening
should also be as wide as possible, otherwise a
few large developing countries (Brazil, India) or
developed countries will benefit from European
concessions. These pitfalls are clearly identified
by the most recent studies, especially by the
World Bank and by OECD. We may also look at our
historical experience. One tends to forget that
the majority of rich countries developed
themselves in the 19th century by opening
progressively after protecting their domestic
market.

Then, developing countries should commit
themselves to reform their agricultural policy.
Once again, the European Union is in the avant-
garde : since 1992, it is the only trade area to
have implemented a reduction of its production and
agricultural subsidies. The last reform, decided
in 2003, will significantly reduce subsidies.
Unfortunately, this action was not followed by
similar commitments from others. During the
revision of their Farm Bill, the United States,
has doubled their agricultural subsidies,
increasing the average support to 17,000 euros per
farmer, which is almost 50% more than in Europe.
An end should also be put to subsidies, especially
American, for cotton producers which jeopardize
the economy of African countries specializing in
this production for which they are very
competitive. This is of vital importance for a
country like Benin, where cotton represents 75% of
exports.

Third priority, world trade rules should be
adapted in order to favor the development of
countries that are excluded from it. More
favorable customs rules should be granted to less
developed countries. Developing and developed
countries should also accept that trade rules be
adapted to the wealth of developing countries.
What is more legitimate than to offer Ghana, for
instance, (GDP/capita : 260 euros) better
conditions than those offered to Brazil
(GNP/capita : 2,660 euros) ?

The question of the access of poor countries to
generic drugs is also a priority and should
mobilize developed and developing countries. In
sub-Saharan Africa, 2 million persons died from
AIDS in 2005. WTO negotiations are an opportunity
to set up a legal framework allowing poorest
countries to import generic drugs are a moderate
price.

It is urgent to meet these objectives : the Hong
Kong conference takes place in a month. France and
Europe, fully aware of these challenges and of
this emergency, have put on the table bold
proposals to make this round that of development."
Stapleton

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