The Doha Round (DDA) was launched in 2001 with the specific focus and objective of better supporting developing countries’ development trough trade. The negotiations of the Doha Round have stalled during the summer 2008 in the absence of sufficient convergence from several key players on a number of sensitive issues in the agricultural negotiations in particular. Political will to engage in a decisive effort to finalise the various chapters of this single undertaking were lacking since then.
For FEDIOL, multilateral negotiations remain the favoured approach as compared to bilateral negotiations. It appears also as the only approach to impose disciplines on agricultural and trade policies. It is important however that such an agreement is fair and balanced. The EU has a key role to play in the negotiations but this should not come at the expense of the European Agricultural sector and in the absence of significant concessions from EU’s main trading partners.
Seeking to ensure that the ongoing WTO negotiations will lead to fair trading conditions for the EU oilseeds crushing industry, For FEDIOL, this means necessarily the elimination of trade distorting practices such as Differential Export Taxes (DETs).
Any agreement to tackle tariff escalation (when import duties applying to finished products are higher than the duties applying to the corresponding raw materials) must go hand in hand with the phasing out of Differential Export Taxes. The inclusion of Differential Export Taxes in the Export measure chapter of the negotiations is essential. If this is not the case, the WTO will be implicitly admitting this trade distorting practice. Undoubtedly, it will develop to other countries and sectors as all other export measures will have been regulated in the framework of the multilateral agreement.
FEDIOL is also paying particular attention to the treatment list of tropical products. The definition of this list should not come at the cost of the limited protections that remain for the European market for vegetable oils.