HC Deb 13 June 2003 vol 406 cc1097-8W
Mr. Caton

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment the Department has made of the impact of reducing agricultural subsidies in Europe on nations in the developing world. [119190]

Hilary Benn

DFID have commissioned a number of studies looking at the impact of different aspects of agricultural liberalisation by developed countries. Some studies have analysed the effect of reforming certain commodity market regimes in the EU, such as the sugar and dairy regimes. These have shown that reducing support in the EU for these commodities will have a positive impact on world prices, thus benefiting exporting developing countries. It will also lead to reduced dumping on developing country markets which is currently harming local production and trade. But there will also be losers as some countries may see their highly profitable preferential access to the EU market eroded.

A recent study on wider liberalisation in agriculture by all developed countries shows similar results. It also stresses the need for complementary policies in helping developing countries reap the full benefits of agricultural trade. Support will need to be provided to those who lose their preferential access to EU markets in order to identify alternative market opportunities. This will need to be taken carefully into consideration within individual countries' development strategies.

DFID is also in the process of commissioning a long-term study over three years to look into the effects of developed countries' domestic and export subsidies on developing countries. This will look in detail at specific country and commodity case studies.

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