HC Deb 02 July 2003 vol 408 c277W
Mr. Laxton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking in concert with other Government Departments to reduce agricultural barriers within the EU before the WTO ministerial meeting in Cancun in September 2003. [121287]

Mr. Bradshaw

On 26 June 2003 the Agriculture Council reached agreement on reform of the CAP, which sets a new course for agriculture in Europe. It will reduce agricultural trade barriers, and puts the EU in a strong position to negotiate a successful outcome at the next round of WTO talks in Cancun in September 2003.

The reform proposals enable decoupling of farm subsidies from production, removing the perverse incentives to over-produce. The deal enables the EU to exceed the domestic support targets that have been proposed in the WTO negotiations, reducing the distortions in world markets which the CAP has caused, and paving the way for a successful conclusion to the Doha trade round.

In addition to the direct involvement in the negotiations of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, as well as other colleagues in Government, played a pivotal role in the agreement by lobbying their European colleagues on the importance of such reform.