Tag Archives: trade policy

GLOBAL – G20: Farm Groups Appeal To Ministers – June 22, 2011

GLOBAL – On the eve of the G-20 Farm Minister’s meeting, farm groups from around the world are calling for coherence saying trade policy must not dictate agricultural policy.

Farm groups from 66 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe adopted a joint declaration, stressing that trade policy must not be allowed to dictate domestic agricultural policies or ignore non-trade concerns – contrary to the commitments undertaken in the Uruguay Round.

In the wake of growing world food demand, they say food security is crucial, and better coherence between World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other global concerns is required.

With less than 10 per cent of the world’s agricultural production traded on global markets, agriculture plays an important role in providing food security to local populations, maintaining viable rural communities and looking after precious land resources.

Farm groups, therefore, are insisting on the recognition of the special and strategic role of agriculture in light of the huge challenges it faces: increasing price volatility exacerbated by excessive speculation on the markets, finite land and water resources and threats posed by climate change.

Meanwhile, the high number of hungry in the world persists and world food demand is rising.

During a media conference in Brussels, Djibo Bagna, President of Roppa, representing farm organisations from West Africa said: “We are questioning if the approach of simply opening markets, without regard to these issues and how they impact farmers who produce food, is really the best way forward.”

“Better coherence is required between any agreement on agriculture at the WTO and the commitments undertaken through other major international treaties on issues such as poverty, hunger, climate change and biodiversity.”

Paolo Bruni, Cogeca President, representing farm organisations across the EU commented: “We firmly support the objective that countries respect the same clear, transparent and predictable rules for world trade.”

“But trade is a means of enabling human development, not an end in itself. Food is vital for human life and cannot be treated like other commodities.”

“The WTO Agreement on Agriculture, Article 20 c. extent of liberalisation must, therefore, be tempered by the need to provide the means and economic incentives to farmers in all parts of the world, so that they can fulfil their production potential in a sustainable way.”

The groups say that governments need to take coordinated action to ensure more stability on agricultural markets and to strengthen farmers’ position vis-à-vis highly concentrated agri-food businesses.

Ther are also calling for a more harmonised approach to protect the environment and biodiversity as well as addressing climate change.

Farm groups are pressing their political leaders to take into account the following basic principles when pursuing trade agreements:

  • all countries must have the right to produce for domestic consumption in order to improve self-sufficiency and ensure their food security, including the use of tariff measures;
  • trade rules must allow for policy measures, including supply management, which promote stability of food supplies and prices;
  • special and differential treatment and capacity-building for developing countries must enable them to address the real concerns of resource-poor, vulnerable and small-scale farmers, and;
  • all countries should have the right to meet the non-trade concerns of their citizens including food safety, the environment, animal welfare and needs of rural areas so as to promote sustainable agriculture and, help combat climate change and, protect biodiversity.

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AUSTRALIA – Trade Policy A Good Platform, Says NFF – April 12, 2011

AUSTRALIA – The Government’s trade policy statement, issued today, forms a solid platform to drive Australia’s trade reform agenda and is a timely reminder of the value of trade to the Australian economy, according to the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF).

“Minister Emerson’s trade policy statement reinforces how important the trade liberalisation agenda is, not only for Australian farmers, but for the whole Australian economy,” NFF President Jock Laurie said.

“Australian farmers are more acutely aware than most of the enormous distortions in global markets that undermine the prices received for food and fibre at the farm gate. It has not been easy, but we have managed to survive in a sector where protectionist barriers on international markets are more than three times greater than in any other sector of merchandise trade.

“Despite the potential gains being significant, it is easy to become complacent in driving for reform to the international trading arena when so many world leaders are failing to back up their rhetoric with solid action. It is a great disappointment to the NFF that gains have been so few and far between in this critical area of policy – it has been difficult for farmers not to lose heart.

“The five principles outlined in today’s trade policy statement are consistent with the trade agenda being driven by the NFF for over thirty years and must now be converted into tangible, improved market access opportunities for Australian farmers.

“Australian farmers are relying on the conclusion of high quality, comprehensive trade deals that result in tangible market access, not deals based on foreign affairs and so called ‘geo-political’ motives. Multilateral efforts are clearly where the greatest gains can be made for farmers, yet these must be effectively supported by bilateral and regional agreements.

“Importantly, the Minister has highlighted that domestic reform efforts should not be abandoned through the process and much work remains in this area – whether it be enhancing the competitive environment, upgrading dilapidated infrastructure or removing regulatory red tape that hinders farmers’ ability to compete.

“It is a critical time for the global community as they look to finalise a Doha deal on the back of yet another strong mandate from the G20 and APEC.

“Today’s statement gives the NFF confidence that Australia, unlike many other nations, will not be dragging the chain in these negotiations and that genuine, meaningful, trade reform will retain an important place in the Government’s policy agenda,” Mr Laurie said.

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