‘We need to engage in some new imaginative long-range thinking if we want our efforts to address the real needs of farmers and consumers worldwide. As the two biggest players in world trade, we have to seek convergence in our approaches to the negotiations. Europe is ready to do so.’
Fischler added:‘This will not be enough to guarantee the success of the Doha Round. There cannot be, there will not be a Doha deal unless developing countries are able to conclude that they have been treated fairly. Success in Cancun will only happen if all WTO members come on board.’
‘Europe has shown that we are ready to make the necessary concessions and sacrifices in order to help to make the Doha Round happen. But this will only work if our trading partners also show their willingness to contribute, rather than camping on extreme positions. So far, I have seen disappointingly little flexibility in other camps.’.
Fischler pointed to the recent reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as evidence of the Europe’s determination to get its own agricultural house in order while furthering liberalization multilaterally. He said that with its CAP reforms of 1992 and 1999 the EU has been on a steady path of reducing trade distorting domestic support. Furthermore, this policy has allowed the EU to significantly cut back on export subsidies.
‘The latest reform of June 2003 represents an even more radical reform by decoupling a major part of its farm payments from production together with substantial reductions of support prices. This will permit the EU to pursue an ambitious agenda as regards cutbacks on trade distorting domestic support, export subsidies and reductions of import tariffs in the Doha Round.’
‘These expected results clearly demonstrate a path of reform that is fully compatible with what all WTO parties committed to do, the US and EU included: to move away from the trade distortions. We in the EU have moved (and were delivering on the Doha objectives long before they were even written!). It's time for others to do likewise.’
Fischler also rejected the myth that Europe’s farm policy hurts developing countries: ‘The image of the EU as a fortress to farm goods from the developing world may serve some cynical interests, but it is pure fiction. The EU in fact is by far the largest importer of farm exports from the developing world, most of which enter the EU at zero or very low tariffs. The EU imports more agricultural products from the developing countries (36 billion euro) than the US, Canada, Australia and Japan combined. Indeed our average import tariff on agricultural imports is only 10%, a level which compares respectably with any country at the WTO negotiating table.’’