Little Progress Among G-6 in Paris

Original Publication Date: 
1 March, 2006

Geneva Senior officials from the so-called Group-of-Six countries the United States, the European Union, Brazil, India, Australia and Japan yesterday concluded a three-day meeting in Paris on agriculture issues in the Doha Development Agenda trade negotiations with little apparent progress (WTD, 3/1/06).

Failure to make significant progress essentially leaves some very tough decisions for G-6 ministers when they meet in London on March 10.

The senior officials agreed to meet next Tuesday in Geneva to discuss the other thorny issues of the Doha Development Agenda including nonagricultural market access and services as well as agriculture, WTD was told.

Except for small advances made on issues like disciplines for the new "blue" box and the "green" box, no progress was made in other areas with no member willing to move off well-established positions, WTD was told. In particular, there were no new offers on contentious issues like export credits, food aid and state trading enterprises. The United States, for example, failed to offer any new ideas on export credits including on the phase-in period for the self-financing of export credits agreed to at last December's Hong Kong ministerial conference.

There also was no movement on food aid. However, there was a marathon discussion on how to operate a new "safe" box for food aid.

The EU, Brazil, Australia and India pressed the United States on other elements of export credits including disciplines on the payment of interest and minimum interest rates. Washington also came under pressure on how to ensure the elimination of commercial displacement of food aid and effective disciplines for in-kind food assistance, monetization and re-exports.

The EU raised issues relating to progressive parallelism with the elimination of direct export subsidies, sources said.

Australia faced questioning on disciplines for agricultural state trading enterprises.