Farming dispute threatens WTO talks

12 November 1999

Farming dispute threatens WTO talks

AGRICULTURE is at the centre of a dispute raging between the 131 members of the World Trade Organisation.

It threatens to pull apart preparations for the next round of world trade negotiations.

The USA and the Australian-led Cairns group of non-subsidising agricultural exporters are pressing the case for the liberalisation of the worlds agricultural trade.

But the European Union and Japan want to introduce the idea of “multifunctionality”.

This could include farmings role in preserving the countryside that would justify treating agriculture as a special case.

They are also pushing a long list of other negotiations, including talks on investment and competition rules, to balance concessions on farm trade.

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