Archive Article: 2000/05/12

12 May 2000

&#8226 NEGOTIATIONS on farm policy reform received a boost at World Trade Organisation headquarters in Geneva this week, with the appointment of a new chairman for agriculture. Jorge Voto-Bernales, a Peruvian, will oversee discussions aimed at further market liberalisation. Initial talks in March were blighted by a row over who was neutral enough to chair the sessions.

&#8226 FRANCE has recorded its 17th BSE casualty this year, a five-year-old dairy cow from the La Manche area of Normandy. This means that in the past four months, the country has had more than half the number of cases than for the whole of 1999. All 142 animals in the herd have been destroyed.

&#8226 CENTRAL and east European countries have been told they must establish fully functioning land markets – both for nationals and for outsiders – as they prepare for EU accession. Speaking at an agri-business forum in Sofia, Bulgaria, farm commissioner Franz Fischler said this was essential if the CEECs were to compete effectively within the EU.

&#8226 PUNITIVE tariffs, imposed by Washington on a range of European food exports in retaliation for the EUs ban on hormone-treated beef, could be re-targeted, according to Reuters. So far the $117m (£76m) duties have been aimed mainly at French and German products. But trade representative, Charlene Barchefsky, has warned she may change the hit list, to keep the EU policy makers on their toes.

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