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Brazil rejects US-EU global farm trade proposal

(Monday, Aug. 18, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- EFE, 08/14/03: Brasilia -- Brazil rejects a joint U.S.-EU proposal for liberalizing trade in farm products as part of a possible broader agreement to be negotiated under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said Thursday.

"Brazil does not like the proposal, because it is negative in what it specifies and is vague in what could be positive," the foreign minister told the Agricultural and Rural Policy Commission of the lower house of Congress.

EU and U.S. trade representatives unveiled a proposal in Geneva on Thursday to try to promote trade negotiations for farm products, which are included in the agenda of the next meeting of the WTO set to take place in Cancun, Mexico, in September.

Among the recommendations included in the proposal is the elimination of subsidies and export credits for a list of products of special interest for underdeveloped countries.

The proposal also calls for underdeveloped nations to be allowed to maintain higher tariffs for longer periods on certain products.

This special treatment would allow those nations to employ safeguard clauses for products they consider "more sensitive" during the upcoming negotiations.

Amorim said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's administration considers, however, that the proposal favors EU and U.S. trade and makes it harder for poorer and less industrialized countries to obtain market access.