26 October 1999
EU ready to talk subsidy cuts — Lamy

By FWi staff

THE EU will negotiate readily on reducing agricultural export subsidies at next months World Trade Organisation talks, says EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy.

“Who says there is no serious talk about reducing export subsidies?” Nasdaq reports Mr Lamy saying at a news conference.

He said the EU is “committed” to Article 20 of the agreement at the end of the Uruguay Round of trade talks in 1994.

This “gives the form and sets a long-term objective; this has to be implemented through reduction of export support.

“Are we still going in this direction? The EU answers yes,” Mr Lamy said.

He said he wanted to put an end to the “myth” that the EU is not prepared to negotiate on reducing agriculture subsidies.

How far and how fast further reduction will go, however, is a matter for the new round of WTO talks in Seattle, he said.

Mr Lamy said although there are clearly still differences, notably with the USA, “we will see at the end of the road” what the Seattle round of trade talks achieves.

EU officials say privately that the EU is taking a long-term view of the talks, which are scheduled to last three years.