HC Deb 15 September 2004 vol 424 c1567W
Mr. Hurst

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to assist poor countries to protect their farmers and traders against unfair international competition; and if he will make a statement. [188556]

Hilary Benn

DFID supports the inclusion of 'Special Products' and the 'Special Safeguard Mechanism' in order to assist farmers and traders in poor countries.

Loosely defined, 'Special Products' are those that are of particular importance to the rural development, and food security, of the country in which they are grown. The farmers of these products should thus be subject to lesser liberalisation commitments.

The 'Special Safeguard Mechanism' would allow developing countries to temporarily protect agricultural products from sudden import surges, which threaten the viability of domestic producers.

Both concepts were included in general terms in the July 2004 World Trade Organisation Framework agreement, setting out the negotiating agenda for the ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005 and will be consolidated and refined as the negotiations progress.

DFID is currently funding a project involving developing country delegates, research institutes and NGOs to assist with this process, and to assist farmers and traders in poor countries.

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