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Press Release 01/82 C6

Speaking at the FAO Conference today

Rome, 5 November 2001 . - Speaking on behalf of the European Commission at the 31st session of the FAO Conference, Mr. Franz Fischler today underlined that "the WTO negotiations to be launched later this week in Doha must, in view of the European Union, have a strong development theme."

Mr. Fischler underlined that integrating the developing countries into the world trading system was "a key element in redressing the economic imbalance" in the world today. "This is a challenge not least for us in the developed world, to open up our markets for trade from the developing countries," he said.

"Promoting food security in the developing world depends among other things on coherence in trade, aid, food aid and domestic policies. This coherence needs also to be reflected in the WTO negotiations," according to the EU.

Explaining the EU's proposal for the WTO negotiations, Mr. Fischler said: "We propose, in addition to multilateral liberalisation, and in order to increase market access to products originating in developing countries, that developed countries provide significant trade preferences to developing countries."

Other developed countries should open their markets to the least developed countries for all products, as the EU has recently done, Mr. Fischler said. He added that trade preferences should be made stable and predictable, so that further investment and development of agricultural and agri-food sectors in developing countries is encouraged.

"We also propose that domestic support measures which promote the vitality of rural areas and seek to deal with the food security concerns of developing countries should be subject to more flexible rules than those applying to developed countries," Mr. Fischler added.

Regarding food aid, he said "new disciplines should be introduced, so that food aid to the least developed countries and to net food importing developing countries be given in fully grant form and in ways which do not damage local food production."

As part of its general policy to promote the sustainable and economic development of developing countries, the EU also proposes that developed countries should intensify all forms of assistance to developing countries.

However, Mr. Fischler said that "Doha is not the end of the process and the WTO negotiations are only part of the picture; the more comprehensive picture covers the field of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental."


For further information, please call FAO's media relations office tel.: 0039.06.57052232.

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