Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Is this for real?

Now, I don't know if anyone remembers this but, at the G8 summit this year, Bush offered to cut all agricultural subsidies if the EU would do the same. Personally I laughed a hollow laugh. But now this!
The European Union has moved to match a US offer to cut controversial agricultural subsidies and tariffs.

In an effort to revive stalled World Trade Organization (WTO) talks, US Trade Representative Rob Portman said the US would cut farm subsidies by 60%.

As part of its plan, the US would cut key agricultural subsidies by 60% before 2010, with trade tariffs slashed by up to 90%.

Trade tariffs would eventually be phased out completely, except on a limited number of "sensitive" products.

The US said it was also willing to tighten up its regulation of export subsidies.

This sounds almost too good to be true: the EU is going to match the US offer and cut 60% of the CAP? Uh, no.
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson responded by indicating that the EU was willing to at least halve it highest tariffs on farm imports.

The European Commission said Mr Mandelson had proposed that EU tariffs which currently stand at 90% for some agricultural imports should be cut by at least 50%, with smaller cuts for lower tariffs.

So, the EU is offering to match the US offer of a 60% cut in farm subsidies with a... 50% cut in some of the highest tariffs.

Wow. Cheers, Peter. Way to encourage free trade. You tit.

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