US, EU urged to give ground on tariffs

Cairns, September 22:

A key group of agriculture exporting nations on Friday urged the United States and Europe to give ground on cutting trade protection for their farmers so global trade can resume before year-end.

Wrapping up a three-day meeting in Australia, the Cairns Group criticized Washington, the European Union and other developed countries with high tariffs and subsidies protecting their farmers for the collapse of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks.

“We are deeply disappointed at the suspension of talks in July this year, and urge WTO members quickly to re-engage in negotiations,” ministers from countries representing a quarter of the world’s trade in farmed goods said.

In a final communique, ministers said the EU, US and other industrialized countries “must make the necessary improvements” on their offers of tariff and subsidy cuts “to establish the basis for the early resumption of negotiations.” Countries blocking the talks should “take necessary steps to resume negotiations”.