France stands firm in EU farm export aid row

11th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

KILLARNEY, Ireland, May 11 (AFP) - France reiterated Tuesday its opposition to European Commission proposals to abolish controversial farm export aid, welcomed by the EU's partners as a way to unblock stalled world trade talks.

KILLARNEY, Ireland, May 11 (AFP) - France reiterated Tuesday its opposition to European Commission proposals to abolish controversial farm export aid, welcomed by the EU's partners as a way to unblock stalled world trade talks.

As European Union agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler again defended the plans, French Farm Minister Herve Gaymard called for a "complete reconsideration" of the Commission's plans, first announced Monday.

"How can Europe protect the Common Agricultural Policy through to the end (of world trade talks) if it gives a signal of unilateral disarmament today," he asked rhetorically, in a speech the text of which was obtained by AFP.

He stressed that the proposals amount to "a serious tactical mistake,"
adding that the EU risks "paying dearly in subsequent negotiations, because it would have to choose between the rhythm of eliminating its export subsidies and the degree to which it opens its markets."

Fischer and EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy made the proposal Monday,
drawing immediate welcome from partners including the United States, which said it hoped the move "will provide a shot in the arm" for global trade talks.

But the plans drew immediate criticism from France, which said it risked giving away negotiating ground without securing reciprocal moves from the EU's trading partners.

Fischler, speaking at an informal meeting of EU farm ministers in Ireland, underlined that the Brussels proposal was conditional on concessions from key trading partners such as the United States, Australia and Canada.

"We've made clear our determination to move further. But not before all
instruments distorting exports do so in a strictly and fully parallel manner and the overall balance of an agreement emerges," he said.

©AFP

Subject: French news

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