+++New WTO modalities paper is published+++

Full details at the WTO’s website. WTO Director General Pascal Lamy said:

“These revised texts set the stage for a decisive moment in the Doha round. Ministers and other senior officials will soon arrive for intensive negotiations the week of 21 July. They need negotiating documents which are clear and precise as they consider the complex issues of agriculture and industrial goods trade. These texts go a very long way in that direction. These negotiations have been long and tough but the prize awaiting us should we reach agreement is worth the effort. A deal to open trade in agriculture and goods means more growth, better prospects for development and a more stable and predictable trading system. We must not let this opportunity slip through our fingers.”

The main issues currently under negotiation that impact the CAP are in the market access pillar and relate to tariff issues, particularly the scale and handling of ‘sensitive products’ that get partial exemption from the across-the-board tariff cuts. In relation to domestic support, the text appears to be close to being finalised. The main decision still to be taken by Ministers is the size of the cut in Overall Trade Distorting Support (OTDS). The options are a cut of between 75% and 85% for the EU, a cut of 66-73% for the US and Japan, and a cut of 50-60% for other countries. Even an 85% cut for the EU would not have any impact on current domestic support payments, which are notified as ‘non- or minimally trade distorting’ and therefore exempt from constraints.

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