French slam EU trade offer

FRENCH FARM minister Hervé Gaymard has attacked an offer made by the EU to eliminate all its export subsidies, reports the Financial Times and The Guardian.

The offer, made in the hope of restarting the stalled Doha round of world trade talks, was made by farm commissioner Franz Fischler and trade commissioner Pascal Lamy.

While the cut is enthusiastically supported by both Britain and Germany, Mr Gaymard has said the offer is “exceeding the negotiating mandate”, report the papers.

The minister added that it was “tactically very dangerous” and France was “very much against this letter”.

But US trade representative, Robert Zoellick, said he hoped that the announcement would provide the “shot in the arm” to all other negotiations.

“The US will support the move by agreeing to negotiate a parallel elimination,” he told the Financial Times.   

The paper says this is one of the key conditions Brussels has attached to its offer, along with an “acceptable outcome” in the negotiations on liberalising other areas of farm trade.

Phil Bloomer, head of Oxfam‘s Make Trade Fair campaign said: “A genuine offer to eliminate export subsidies would be cause of great celebration.

“This could give a real boost to stalled WTO negotiations and be a big step towards making trade work for the poor.”