The eu has said it would end trade-distorting aid for agricultural exports if other countries like Canada, Australia and the us follow suit. The announcement was made on May 7, 2004 by the European Commission (ec) trade commissioner, Pascal Lamy, and the ec agriculture commissioner, Franz Fischler. It preceded a meeting of trade ministers from 28 countries on the sidelines of a summit of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (oecd) in Paris on May 13-14.
However, French agriculture minister, Herve Gaymard, expressed his country's opposition to the idea and charged Lamy and Fischler with overstepping their mandate. Meanwhile, Gary Blumenthal, president of World Perspectives, a Washington-based agricultural analysis firm, said the latest offer was little more than "remarketing" of past eu proposals: "I don't see any new ground being broken on export subsidies."
It is believed that some movement on agricultural issues must take place by July 2004, before the us elections and the change in eu commissioners happens. This might resolve deadlocks in many trade negotiations.
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