by Mike Moore Director-General of the World Trade
plays a fundamentally important role in the economic
growth and development prospects of the vast majority of
developing countries. The situation in the industrialised
countries utterly pales by comparison (see
figures in the Annex).
the decades this situation has been reflected in
persistent demands by developing countries for
substantial improvements in access to world markets for
their agricultural exports, for more equitable conditions
of competition, particularly as regards export subsidies,
as well as demands for special and differential treatment
in one form or another.
is evident from the negotiating
already submitted in Geneva, there is no doubt that
developing countries will use the WTO agricultural
negotiations now underway to achieve more substantial
liberalisation than ultimately proved to be possible in
the Uruguay Round.
are, of course, developing countries whose positions are
more defensive and more oriented towards maintenance of
the status quo for certain products for which they enjoy
a relatively privileged position in this or that market.
I shall return to such concerns in a moment.
there are limits to how far agriculture is negotiable on
its own, without the risk being run of blockage to the
everyday operation of the WTO system, or to the other
mandated negotiations on services. Farmers in developing
countries as well as the broader interests of the world
economy at large will undoubtedly be better served by
negotiations of a broader scope than those currently
includes creditor countries and the international
financial system which clearly have a substantive
interest in the economic and financial viability of
developing countries and thus in a broadly positive
eventual outcome in areas, including agriculture, which
will bolster the trade and economic performance of
agricultural trade performance of developing countries
has been evolving, and so too have their interests in the
current negotiations. International trade in agriculture
is increasingly a trade in processed and other higher
on agricultural raw materials and other bulk commodities,
which many industrialised countries have to import anyway
(as inputs to their own more innovative but protected
processing industries), and on so-called tropical
products now only cover part of the spectrum of
developing countries' export interests. My impression is
that many exporting developing countries will not accept
to be fobbed off, as they were to a certain extent in the
Uruguay Round, with concessions on such traditional,
other words concessions on temperate products efficiently
produced by developing countries and, more generally, on
processed agricultural products will figure prominently
in the negotiating process when it starts to get into
markets in industrialised countries will, of course, not
be the only ones in the firing line. Here again the
interests of developing countries have been evolving.
country markets, and also the markets of transition
economies, have and will continue to become increasingly
important outlets for developing countries. Over the past
decade, the share of developing country agricultural
exports going to these markets has grown to reach around
40 per cent. These markets have thus become almost as
important as the markets of the industrialised countries.
countries are of course concerned about the impact of
predatory and subsidised imports in their own markets.
This is reflected in various of the proposals for special
and differential treatment in terms of counter measures
permitted under the WTO system. But the answer is
emphatically not a wholesale extension to developing
countries generally of the Special agricultural safeguard
mechanism (devised as part of the UR tariffication
package and up to now infrequently utilised). To do so
would immeasurably prejudice the actual and potential
export interests of developing countries in each other
markets. In my view, the answer must be to correct the
distortions at their root source
major issue for developing countries but also for the
multilateral system itself is special and differential
treatment in the form of extended preferential tariff
treatment for agricultural products originating in
the interests of developing country exporters as a whole
better served through an extension of Gatt bound and
protected, non-discriminatory, unconditional, MFN access
are the interests of developing countries and of the
trading system better served by an extension of
preferential market access arrangements which lack most
of the eminent qualities just enumerated?
believe that this issue, which is by no means new, is
important and merits the fullest reflection by all of us
gathered here today and elsewhere. Discrimination,
including discrimination among developing countries, is
hardly the way to strengthen the hand of the weaker
players in the system.
being said, the WTO, like the old GATT, is also a
pragmatic institution. Negotiations may have to find
creative solutions in addressing some long-standing,
unique access arrangements on a basis which is fair and
reasonable to all concerned.
reductions, if not eventual elimination, of export
subsidies and more effective disciplines on other
forms of export subsidisation are both areas where
developing countries have major interests.
exporting countries, both developing and developed, will
be immeasurably better off when export prices are
determined by fairer conditions of market competition,
rather than indirectly by bureaucrats calculating and
handing out export subsidies, or through the manipulation
of other governmental export promotion programmes.
the road ahead will no doubt be both long and steep. As
anyone who rides a bicycle knows, the wider the road the
more negotiable it becomes. Hence, once again, the
importance of a broader WTO Round so far as the
agriculture negotiations are concerned.
food-importing countries are another group having
interests in what may emerge in the area of export
competition and these will need to be addressed as
appropriate. In any event, as the proposals tabled by a
number of them suggest, these countries have increasingly
come to realize that some possible short-term benefits
aside, export subsidies of their trading partners are
impeding the development of their own agricultural
me now turn to the debate on non-trade concerns.
key point, stressed on all sides of this debate in
Geneva, is that, to one degree or another, all countries
have legitimate non-trade concerns in agriculture.
Another important consideration is that such concerns
should be addressed so far as possible in ways that are
not at the cost of trading partners.
is worth recalling that the Uruguay Round results have
gone quite some way to enable countries through domestic
support measures to accommodate non-trade concerns, such
as food security, regional assistance and environmental
concerns, in ways that are minimally trade distorting.
However, these UR domestic support arrangements are
perceived, in appearance if not in fact, as taking more
account of specific concerns of industrialised countries.
adequacy of these WTO domestic support arrangements from
the point of view of developing countries will therefore
be an important focus of the agricultural negotiations.
Key non-trade concerns of developing countries, such as
poverty alleviation, rural development and food security,
are qualitatively quite different from those asserted by
some highly industrialised countries. And there are many
developing countries who consider that any amalgam
between the two is not propitious.
generally, my feeling is that from the system point of
view, the various non-trade concerns which are being
asserted should be addressed primarily within the
domestic support context, under conditions ensuring
minimal trade distortion. No doubt, in many instances
measures outside the trade and agriculture sphere proper
will have to play an even more important role in
appropriately dealing with such concerns (e.g.,
education, infrastructure, social and structural
other ways could also help dealing with non-trade
concerns, as was the case in the Uruguay Round
agricultural negotiations. I would remind you that the
tariff reduction formula in that Round allowed for
minimum cuts significantly below the required
average reductions for both developed and developing
in such a pragmatic but principled way, I believe most
non-trade concerns should be able to be addressed in
effective and constructive but minimally trade distorting
ways. If so, then there is a way forward, particularly in
case of a broader process of negotiations where there is
greater scope for eventual trade-offs for everyone.
in saying this I nevertheless think that non-trade
concerns should not be confused with special and
differential treatment. The latter is after all the
preserve of the developing countries.
in either case should we lose sight of the very important
practical principle, enunciated by Ministers in the
Mid-Term review of the Uruguay Round, that in realising
the long-term objective of the agricultural reform
process, the strengthened and more operationally
effective rules and disciplines would be equally
applicable to all Members.
would like to conclude, Mr Chairman, by underlining that
the WTO Secretariat will continue to provide full and
practical assistance to developing countries, so as to
enable them to fully participate in the negotiations.
involves more than half of the labour force in many
developing countries, versus relatively small and
declining shares in OECD countries (Table
derives about 15 per cent of its export income from
agricultural products, Latin America about 20 per cent
a much higher dependence than in the case of
developed countries (Table 2).
Share of agriculture in the labour force of selected OECD
countries (per cent) back
. Base period of the Uruguay Round. back
to the table.
2 Share of export income derived from agriculture
in selected OECD countries (per cent) back
for Tables 1 and 2: OECD Evaluation and Monitoring
Report for 2000.