Developed countries urged to scrap agriculture subsidies

Jakarta, Dec 3: Senior officials of nations joining the Group of 20 (G20) developing countries have urged developed countries to scrap export subsidy and other subsidies in agriculture, a spokesperson of the group said here Monday.

“We stress that the elimination of all forms of export subsidies in accordance with the agricultural modalities embodied in document TN/AG/4/Rev.4 (of the World Trade Organisation) shall be a priority in the post Bali negotiations,” Xinhua quoted Brazilian Minister of External Communication Luiz Aiberto Riguero Machado as saying.

“Given its developmental importance, we underscore that agriculture shall remain the centre piece of WTO negotiations after Bali, therefore we stress future negotiations must have discipline and commitments on agriculture at its center and address the concerns of developing countries, particularly the least developing countries.”

The official made the remarks at a press conference prior to the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference, which opens here Tuesday, after a meeting of the G20 group’s senior officials held in a lavish hotel in Nusa Dua, Bali.

Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said that eliminating trade barriers in the agricultural sector has been one of Indonesia’s targets that should be accomplished in multilateral trade forums, “particularly when the barrier comes from subsidy of agricultural product exports in developed countries”.

Since its establishment in Geneva in 2003, the G20 group has been consistently pushed the developed countries in supporting the compliance of Doha Round goals in accordance with its mandates.

For the G20 group, the need to alter trade regulation on agriculture products is a key and urgent issue that needs to be addressed by the WTO. The group considers that agriculture subsidy has been used as one of protectionism instruments in international trade.