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Only wholesale CAP reform will allow conclusion to DOHA negotiations - Dartmouth
Date 14/09/2011 12:51  Author webmaster  Hits 2144  Language Global
VIDEO

The European Parliament voted today on a Motion of Resolution about the DOHA negotiations.

Speaking in the Plenary chamber during the debate on Monday, UKIP MEP William Dartmouth said that these WTO negotiations can only be successful if there is wholesale CAP reform, something that is being prevented by the majority of MEPs.
 
"The European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is equivalent to about $80 billion per year. This huge subsidy is a distorting factor in world food markets. It  erodes the fair operation of the market in food, generates export dumping and damages the ability of farmers in the developing world to earn a living.



"I must further point out that a disproportionate amount of the CAP goes on subsidising the growing of sugar beet. This crop grown in the developed world can never be fully competitive without subsidy with sugar cane.

"It is the continuance of the CAP in its present form which sabotages a proper result from the Doha Round. What then are the prospects for meaningful reform of the CAP?

"The answer is that there are too many politicians in the European Parliament who are opposed to a meaningful reform of the CAP - it is just not going to happen.

"No meaningful reform of the CAP means no meaningful outcome to the Doha rounds."



Full transcript:
 
Mr. President,

There was a British author called Lewis Carrol who wrote a rather famous book "Alice in Wonderland" and this book had a sequel "Alice though the Looking Glass".

In that book there is a passage where the Red Queen tells Alice "The rule is, jam yesterday and jam tomorrow but never jam to-day.’ Alice said "But it must happen sometimes that there is “jam to-day”,’ To which the Queen said and here I paraphrase : "No, there is never jam to-day."

Well that is rather like the EU and the successive Doha Rounds. We do never get the jam.

There is a reason for this.

The Parliament's own Library briefing states that the focus of the Doha Round was to be on Development.

Now for most developing countries the critical aspect of the Doha Round is Agriculture. Around three quarters of the population of developing countries reside in rural areas and a majority depend on agriculture.

The European Union's Common Agricultural Policy or CAP is equivalent to about 80 billion US dollar per year. This huge subsidy is a distorting factor in world food markets. It  erodes the fair operation of the market in food, generates export dumping, and damages the ability of farmers in the developing world to earn a living.

I must further point out that a disproportionate amount of the CAP goes on subsidising the growing of sugar beet. This crop grown in the developed world can never be fully competitive without subsidy with sugar cane.

It is the continuance of the CAP in its present form which sabotages a proper result from the Doha Round. What then are the prospects for meaningful reform of the CAP ?

The answer is that there are too many politicians in the European Parliament who are opposed to a meaningful reform of the CAP - it is just not going to happen.

No meaningful reform of the CAP means no meaningful outcome to the Doha rounds.

Thank you.

Notes on the CAP regime and WTO negotiations

One of the key sticking points is agricultural subsidies, and if the talks collapse, this could be the deal breaker. This is a huge point of contention between the US and the EU, the world's two biggest trading blocs, and thus very significant for the talks. Both blocs have agricultural subsidies, but there is a key difference. The US Department of Agriculture pays $20 bn per annum in farm subisidies, whilst the EU pays €57 bn per annum, the equivalent of $80 bn. Thus, the EU pays three times as much in farm subisides as the US.

Some think tanks and NGOs are convinced that Doha is at risk of collapsing over this farm subsidies issue, due to the EU (and especially French) stubborness. Neil O’Brien, formerly of the independent think-tank Open Europe said, "The world trade talks will fail because the EU won’t budge, the EU won’t budge because France won’t budge, and France won’t budge because its farmers have it over a barrel".

Claire Godfrey, Oxfam's Trade Policy Officer was even more scathing, saying "[France] is holding the EU budget and the WTO talks to ransom. The intransigence is unbelievable".

Furthermore, the issue of agricultural subsidies has a very significant impact on many developing countries in the ACP region, as EU dumping undercuts local producers. The inflexibility of the EU on this key issue is pertinent, especially given its grave impact on the rest of the world, and on the good functioning of the WTO.
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