Daily Management Review

G20 Agriculture Ministers Criticize Protectionism, Vows WTO Rules Reforms


07/30/2018




A joint statement issued by the agriculture ministers of the G20 nations censured protectionist policies and pledged to change some of the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The statement however did not talk about the possible measures in detail that they would take to enhance the food trade system.
 
The statement said that they were “concerned about the increasing use of protectionist non-tariff trade measures, inconsistently with WTO rules.”
 
The ministers present in the meeting included ones from the United States and China and they said in the statement that they were committed in not adopting “unnecessary obstacles” to trade and reinstated their rights and obligations according to the WTO agreements.
 
The meeting was help amidst a global trade environment clouded by rising trade tensions which have impacted agricultural markets. Following the imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods and tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, retaliatory tariffs have been imposed on American farmers by China and other top U.S. trade partners.
 
China’s retaliatory tariffs is expected to hit American farmers by an estimated $11 billion. last week, the trump administration announced an aid package of up to $12 billion for farmers ot tackle some of the impacts of the trade war.
 
Aids to US farmer to the tune of between $7 billion and $8 billion in direct cash relief under the Trump plan would start as early as late September, said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in an interview on the sidelines of the meeting.
 
Perdue said that the measures are “not going to make farmers whole” despite the payments.
 
Farmers “don’t need aid, (they) need trade”, said German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner citing the Trump administration’s relief measures.
 
“We had a very frank discussion about the fact that we don’t want unilateral protectionist measures,” Kloeckner said in a news conference after the meeting.
 
The measures that the ministers were referring to was not clear in their statement. The ministers represent countries that possess 60 per cent of the agricultural land and 80 percent of food and agricultural commodities trade in the world. The ministers did not want to “criticize a single country”, v when asked for details.
 
“We all know what happens if a single person or country doesn’t adhere to WTO rules, trying to get a benefit for themselves through protectionism,” she said. “This will usually lead to retaliatory tariffs.”
 
There is need to for a continuous reform to the WTO’s agricultural trade rules, said the ministers in the statement.
 
“Independent of all the news there was surrounding (the meeting), we managed to reach a unanimous consensus,” Argentine Agriculture Minister Luis Miguel Etchevehere said.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com)






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