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News : International Last Updated: Dec 19th, 2007 - 13:17:15

Chirac issues veto threat on Doha trade talks with Ireland's support
By Finfacts Team
Oct 27, 2005, 21:55

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Update Friday Oct 28:EU tables new offer in Doha World Trade talks; calls for immediate movement on services and industrial goods

Update Saturday Oct 29: Doha Trade Round: Political Jellyfish, Irish economic consequences and World Bank's call for 75% reduction in official farm tariff rates

French President Jacques Chirac - Although a Doha trade would offer new opportunities for French and Irish manufacturing and services exports, spineless politicians in France and Ireland are just focused on pandering to the farm vote
French President Jacques Chirac held up the prospect of a veto if the EU offer any further cuts to farm subsidies and tariffs, in the current Doha Round of trade talks.

As the EU remains under pressure from both the US and Developing Countries to match America's offer of big reductions in farm import tariffs, Chirac made it clear that France will prevent EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson from making new concessions.

``It is totally out of the question for us to go a single step further,'' Chirac told a news conference after the EU's informal summit at Hampton Court Palace, near London today. France would have a veto over any agreement, he added.

The French-led defence of European farm supports, a stance that is supported by Ireland, casts a shadow over the expected offer that the EU is due to make on Friday, thereby putting the whole trade reform framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at risk.

WTO negotiators are hoping to have the bones of a trade deal agreed before a planned Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong from December 13-18th. On Monday, Mandelson warned that prospects for the Hong Kong meeting are ``on a knife-edge.''

France gets about a quarter of the proceeds of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) while Ireland is the highest per-capita beneficiary.

Mandelson's Proposal

Mandelson has said he will go ahead with his new proposal on Friday saying that it will be ``within the mandate'' set by EU governments. European Commission President Jose Barroso commented ``I don't think'' France will block the offer.

Chirac, says that the 2003 CAP reform measures are sufficient concessions but the EU did not expect the US to propose large cuts in tariffs, which are much more critical to Developing Countries than EU domestic subsidies, according to the World Bank.

Chirac heaped scorn on the  the US and ``large emerging countries'' for ``impoverishing'' the world's poorest countries by forcing them to buy U.S. food surpluses.

Mandelson, who has said that his counterparts should move the talks beyond agriculture, is set to speak via teleconference on Friday with US Trade Representative Rob Portman, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim and Australian and Indian Trade Ministers Mark Vaile and Kamal Nath. Their teleconference will focus on rich country  tariffs that protect producers from lower world prices.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview on Thursday that Mandelson's leeway to offer deeper European concessions ``will very much depend on negotiations within the EU.''

The World Bank says that EU tariffs on food imports average 13.9 percent, compared to 2.4 percent for the US and 29.4 percent for Japan.

US Demands

Rob Portman has said the EU must at the least offer reductions of 45 percent to 75 percent in the tariffs, in line with what Developing Countries such as Brazil have proposed. The EU's current proposal recommends cuts of 20 percent to 50 percent.


Mandelson says trade talks are on "knife-edge" as Bono and Geldof remain on sidelines

Mandelson rejects France and Ireland's claims on Doha Round trade talks at Luxembourg EU meeting

Ireland, one of the World's greatest beneficiaries of Free Trade supports Protectionist France in opposition to reduction of farm product tariffs

Ireland's net receipts from EU Budget rose €34m in 2004; Irish top per capita beneficiaries in EU15 at €396

Success of Doha Round trade talks dependent on EU/US agreement on farm product import tariff cuts

Wolfowitz: Trade concessions critical for world's poor

© Copyright 2007 by Finfacts.com

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