NEWS from
The International Policy Council on Agriculture, Food and Trade


DATE: March 15, 2000
CONTACT: Peter Lacy (202)328-5056

IPC Calls on US and EU to Start WTO Talks This Year

Washington, DC -- The international Policy Council on Agriculture, Food and Trade (IPC) held a special meeting in Washington, DC on March 9 in response to the failure of the Seattle WTO Conference in December of 1999. The IPC highlighted the huge gains for all countries -- including especially developed countries -- from building a more open, sustainable global food system. It called on the U.S. and EU to provide the needed leadership to start the WTO Round this year as mandated by the built-in agenda of the 1994 Uruguay Round of GATT.

"The US and Europe need to move the rhetoric of conflict from their agricultural trade relations," said IPC chairman Lord Plumb of Coleshill. "The two sides have more in common then they often reconize. They need to work together to realize their shared interests."

US-EU relations where not the major problem in Seattle, the IPC said. Nor did the problems center on agriculture. the difficulty centered on moving from the mandated talks on agriculture and sevices to broader trade neogotiation. The IPC believes a foundation for such comprehensive neogotiations can be built.

On the narrower issue of agricultural topics, the IPC believes that the agricultural talks scheduled to begin in Geneva on March 23-24 should ensure the enhanced participation of developing country participants.

It also urges more dialogue between the U.S. and EU to better define what constitutes a tradedistorting subsidy. Such clarifiacation will be essential to supporting rural areas in ways that do not distort trade while opening access to markets and to food supplies.

The IPC is an independent organization dedicated to developing policies that support an efficient and open global agricultural system. Its membership includes 35 leaders and experts from 20 developed and developing countries, with backgrounds in farming, business, government and academia. The IPC will be very active during the WTO Round and can be reached at the numbers listed above.