HL Deb 17 September 2003 vol 652 cc186-7WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have proposed a timetable for the ending of export subsidies on agricultural products from the European Union: whether they can foresee procedures that are likely to be agreed; whether these would be matched by the United States; and what outcomes they hope for from the Cancun negotiations. [HL4374]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty)

The WTO ministerial Doha declaration in 2001 commits all WTO members to negotiations aimed at reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies for agricultural products.

The proposals tabled for consideration at Cancun envisaged the elimination of export subsidies on certain products of particular interest to developing countries. The nature of these products and the timetable for elimination were left to be determined. The question of an end date for phasing out all forms of export subsidies was to remain under negotiation.

The Government hoped for an outcome to the Cancun negotiations which would benefit farmers and consumers everywhere through a global move to freer and fairer agricultural trade. The failure to reach an agreement at Cancun is very disappointing and all parties must now reflect on how best to get the Doha process back on track. The Government remain fully committed to the Doha objectives for agriculture.