US, EU Now Farther Apart on DDA?

Original Publication Date: 
22 January, 2007

Geneva - The European Union and the United States are a bit further apart than they were a week ago on settling their differences in the agriculture Doha Development Agenda negotiations, WTD was told yesterday (see related report this issue).

Brussels has yet to secure a clear picture from the United States of how its concerns will be addressed, WTD was told yesterday. EU officials said both sides are making progress in their consultations but are not at the stage of sealing an agreement.

Yesterday, the Financial Times reported that both sides were on the brink of signing a bilateral agreement - that would include a sharp drop in US domestic farm spending in exchange for a greater market access offer from the EU.

Gaps have narrowed between the two sides, but there are still contentious issues in overall trade-distorting domestic support - especially over how to address product-specific caps in the Aggregate Measurement of Support and the "blue box" as well as over the base period for reduction commitments, WTD was told. The EU wants a base period for tariff cuts of 1995 to 2000 - the Uruguay Round implementation period; the United States has insisted on a 1999 to 2001 base.

In the discussions, Washington has suggested some ideas on how to address product-specific caps and the base period, diplomats said. There is growing convergence on "sensitive products." But the two sides have yet to sort out their differences on food aid in the export competition pillar.