Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary Memorandum from the Italian Ambassador


  The Conclusions reached at the last General Affairs and External Relations Council (21 July 2003) on the issue of the preparation of the V Ministerial Conference in Cancun have made it redundant to prepare a separate paper.

  In this regard, I would particularly like to underline the first part of paragraph 4 where the principle of equivalent agricultural concessions from all WTO partners is stressed: "The Council recalled that the DDA negotiations are based on a comprehensive Agenda and must proceed at a similar pace in all areas. With regard to specific issues for Cancun, the Council stressed the following:

  First, modalities for the negotiations on agriculture have to be established. The Council welcomed the political agreement reached by the Agriculture Council on 25-26 June 2003 on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, which stressed that the decisions taken on that occasion constituted an important European contribution to the DDA negotiations on agriculture and the limits of the Commission's negotiating brief in the WTO Round. The Council also recalled that the Agriculture Council had also stressed that the margin of manoeuvre offered by this CAP reform could only be used in the DDA on condition of equivalent agricultural concessions from the EU's WTO partners. The Community is now in a position to lead the way towards an ambitious outcome of the negotiations on agriculture, including the EU's offensive interests, and other objectives such as non-trade concerns."

  From a general point of view it is worth recalling that agriculture is only one of the areas of negotiation. As indicated in the above-mentioned Council Conclusions, the EU is committed to:

    "a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda by the end of 2004, the DDA being a single undertaking aiming at achieving an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced package of agreements, both on market access and rules, and better integrating developing countries, especially the least developed countries, into the multilateral trading system, in accordance with all the objectives set out at Doha."

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