- International Agricultural Adjustment - Progress Report
Ajustement agricole international - Rapport de situation
Reajuste Agrícola Internacional - Informe provisional
EL PRESIDENTE: Leeremos ahora el punto 7, Informe del Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos. El documento básico para este tema 7 es el CL 71/6 que será presentado dentro de poco por el señor Embajador Magombe, Presidente del Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos.
Notarán ustedes que en el mismo tema 7, en el Orden del Día, figura el subtema con el título Reajuste Agrícola Internacional. Para este subtema dei reajuste solo se dispone del párrafo 150 del documento CL 71/9, informe del COAG, tal como aparece en el Orden del Día.
Les propongo que, a fin de ganar tiempo y como sobre el reajuste no hay mucho que discutir sino solamente lo que aparece en el párrafo citado, tomemos conjuntamente los dos puntos que abarca el tema 7. Espero que el Consejo esté de acuerdo con esta propuesta. Si es así voy a conceder la palabra al Embajador señor Magombe, Presidente del CPPB.
G.S, MAGOMBE (Chairman of Committee on Commodity Problems): I will be very brief. It is my privilege to refer to the Council the Report of the Fifty-First Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems held in Rome from 2nd to 6th May 1977 which I had the honour to chair. The report, as has been mentioned by the Chairman, is contained in Document CL 71/6 which is before you.
This session of the CCP though reduced to only five working days in the interests of economy, was well attended and was able to discharge its mandate by reducing its agenda to the bare essentials. On the question of attendance I am happy to mention that at this session nearly all the members of this Council were represented and I am sure that this will have the effect that your work here will be very much facilitated.
In addition to taking action on a number of commodity problems arising out of the work of subsidiary bodies, the Committee also identified a number of critical policy issues which arise from the current world commodity situation and reviewed the progress of the work of FAO in these fields. On all these issues the Committee had before it documents prepared by the Secretariat and a comprehensive statement conveying the common position of the Group of 77. The Committee especially wished to draw the attention of the Council to three questions. The first was its review of international action on a number of important commodity and trade issues and its conclusions on the role of FAO. On this I should like to refer the Council particularly to paragraphs 70-79 of the Committee's report.
The second point is the proposal that the Committee should be associated with the task of monitoring the impact on trade of food standards developed by the Codex Alimentarius, and the Committee's deliberations on this proposal. Again, I should like to refer this Council to the Committee's report, especially paragraphs 65-67.
Last, but not least, there were its discussions concerning arrangements for the next session of the Committee and these are reflected in the Committee's report in paragraphs 95-96.
Mr. Chairman, before giving me the floor you mentioned in passing the question of international agricultural adjustment. With regard to the next session of the CCP the Council will note that the Committee on Commodity Problems considered the possibility of holding a short special CCP session in the autumn if it would facilitate the work of the Conference, particularly in examining the Director-Generai's report on international agricultural adjustment. The Bureau was asked to continue to study the question and to submit its conclusions to this session of the Council. Accordingly, I have carried out consultations and it is my conclusion that it is not possible to justify an additional unscheduled meeting especially in view of the crowded meeting schedule in the autumn and the pressure on FAO documentation services on the eve of the FAO Conference.
I said I would be very brief, but before ending these short introductory remarks I would like to thank the Director-General and his staff on behalf of the Committee for their cooperation and the excellent documents they have prepared for the Committee.
EL PRESIDENTE: Gracias, señor Embajador Magombe, Presidente del CPPB. Antes de dar la palabra a los oradores que la han solicitado tal vez conviene orientar un poco sobre este tema. Noten ustedes que tal como lo ha dicho el Presidente del CPPB en la página iv. después del índice aparecen los asuntos que requieren la atención del Consejo.
En cuanto al punto 3, el señor Presidente ha dicho ya claramente que en relación a los párrafos 95 y 96 del documento básico sobre la posibilidad de celebrar una sesión del CPPB en el otoño próximo, la posición de la Mesa es la de que no es conveniente que se celebre ese período de sesiones del otoño, por las razones que el señor Embajador Magombe expuso.
H.M. CARANDANG (Philippines): In regard to the item on Commodities now being discussed, the Philippine, delegation would like to recall a few problems which are aggravating the situation of many developing countries. The first of these is that of the terms of trade. These have been going against many developing countries. The prices of most agricultural exports of developing countries have been deteriorating in real terms. A few examples to this effect will illustrate our point. I would quote from the reports of the different Commodity meetings, and I quote first from the report of the IGG on Hard Fibres of 1976, page 7, paragraph 23:
''Production of abaca in the Philippines in 1976 was 50 percent lower that in 1975 due to lower export demand and a heavy fall in prices."
From the report of the IGG on Oil Seeds, Oils and Fats, of 1977, page 10, paragraph 36:
''The FAO price indices for oils and fats, when deflected to measure import purchasing power, indicate that the real price is well below 1964-66. The deflated index for oils and fats in 1976 is 81."
From the papar presented by the Secretariat of the Working Party on the Elements of an International Banana Agreement, the second paper, I refer to Tables 8 and 9 on pages 25 and 26: the tables indicate that there has been a drop in real terms in the export prices of bananas. This has also been the case with sugar and other agricultural exports. While there is a drop in the real export earnings of developing countries, there has been a considerable increase in the prices of imports and in the imports of manufactured goods. The unit value index of manufactured goods in these past seven years, according to official estimates, has almost doubled, according to the estimate of FAO, to say nothing about the price of energy. No wonder the balance of payments difficulties of many developing countries have worsened up to the limit of tolerance.
Our second problem, aside from that of the terms of trade, is the problem which has aggravated the conditions of many developing countries, and this is the instability of prices of agricultural conmodities. This instability and this violent fluctuation of prices robs our farmers of profits precisely when and because they have increased production. A classic example of this is the price of sugar. In 1975-76, in the Philippines, for example, it increased by 60 percent but prices went down by 62 percent.
A third problem is that of market access. The efforts of developing countries to expand their earnings are often frustrated because of the restrictive measures and support policies of some developed countries. GSP up to now has limited coverage and progress towards its extension has been quite limited.
Another problem which confronts the agricultural sector of developing countries is that of competition with synthetics and substitutes, but this is a problem we may have to live with. At any rate, it certainly does not help the developing countries with their balance of payments difficulties.
With regard to Individual commodities, I would like to touch on a few points which concern our country most. With regard to oils, we support the recommendation of the IGG on Oils and Fats for the progressive reduction and gradual elimination of existing tariff and non-tariff barriers and the extension of (GSP schemes. We support the development of a comprehensive set of guidelines for international cooperation as recommended by the CCP. We believe this could help towards the balancing of supply and demand at levels that are satisfactory and remunerative to producers, and fair to consumers.
With regard to bananas, we would like to commend the work being done by the Working Party in FAO with regard to the study of the elements toward a possible international banana agreement which should aim at achieving a balanced expansion of production, consumption and trade of bananas, at price levels remunerative to producers and fair to consumers.
With regard to food standards, we support the proposal that the CCP monitor the import of food standards on food trade and the Import of these standards on the export interests of the developing countries. While we believe that food standards are not only good but are necessary to provide good and healthy food, nevertheless we think it is something like a knife: a knife that can be used to carve a turkey but could also be used to cut a human limb. Food standards are good and necessary in order to safeguard the kind of food we eat, but could also be used as non-tariff barriers against developing countries' agricultural exports. What we are asking the CCP is to see to it that these food standards are not used as non-tariff barriers to the detriment of developing countries.
We would like to commend the work being done by FAO in close cooperation with UNCTAD towards an integrated programme for commodities. And lastly, we would like to thank FAO for its study on the competition of high fructuous corn sugar and its competition with cane and beet sugar, and the effect of the same on cane and beet sugar.
DOÑA PAULINA DE CASTRO MONSALVO (Colombia): La delegación de Colombia manifiesta en general su aprecio positivo por los resultados de la ultima reunion del Comité de Productos Básicos, aunque al leer el documento CL 71/6 tenemos la impresión de que existe todavía la carencia de voluntad política de los países desarrollados, lo cual impide que se avance en el estudio y la solución de estas importantes cuestiones.
Nuestra delegación desea insifitIr una vez mas sobre lo que ya antes expresó este Consejo acerca de la importancia de la función de la FAO en el sector de los productos básicos y en el comercio. Por ello, nos ha complacido que el Director Cenerai haya includo /?/ activdades entre los sectores nrioritarios del Programa de Labores y Presupuesto para el próximo bienio. Entre los cambios que están teniendo lugar en la situación mundial de los productos básicos, nuestra Organización puede desempeñar un papel importante con base en la experiencia y en los conocimientos acumulados a través de los años; pero la delegación de Colombia considera que la participación de la FAO en los problemas de productos básicos y del comercio debe ser más activa. La Dirección de Productos Básicos y Comercio de la FAO no debiera limitarse simplemente a hacer proyectos sobre la demanda, el consumo y el comercio, sino que debe estar en condiciones de hacer planteamientos de orientación política para que los puntos de vista de nuestra Organización sean adecuadamente utilizados en la UNCTAD, el GATT y todos los demás organismos que concurren en el estudio y la solución de los problemas básicos de comercio.
Finalmente, la delegación de Colombia apoya íntegramente el contenido de la declaración que en la ultima reunión del CPPB se hizo en nombre del. Grupo de los 77. Nuestra delegación considera que en esa declaración del Grupo de los 7 7 se expone con claridad y franqueza la difícil situación porque atraviesan los países en desarrollo. Es lamentable, igualmente, confirmar que todas las actividades que sobre er te campo se realizan en otros organismos siguen un proceso lento y sin llegar a conclusiones positivas, como en el ejemplo reciente a muy alto nivel y en un contexto más amplio, el fracaso de la Conferencia Norte-Sur de París.
En atención a las consideraciones anteriores, la delegación de Colombia pide a este Consejo que en el informe de esta reunión se haga un llamado a los gobiernos de los países desarrollados para que cambien de actitud y puedan facilitar aun gradualmente el arreglo de los graves problemas que afrontan los países en desarrollo en materia de productos básicos y comercio.
B. de AZEVEDO BRITO (Brazil): The Group of 77 had the opportunity to develop rather extensively its views on the area of commodities, at the 51st Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems. We briefly touched also on the same question in our introductory statement to this current Session of the FAO Council. I would like to preface my comments by paying tribun, to Ambassador Magombe, who provided leadership to the very difficult and detailed discussion in the Committee on Commodity Problems in such a manner that the Committee had a session which will, I. believe, go down in the history of the Committee as an outstanding one. If one reads the report of the Committee, one can easily see that, first, we have significant problems facing the international community in the area of commodities; second, that the Committee provided - perhaps for the first time in many years - very clear guidance to the inter-governmental bodies subordinated to it, and this is an extremely important development. We believe that the Committee on Commodity problems has indeed done extremely useful work.
Now I would like to echo briefly some of the comments made just before me by the de]egate of the Philippines and the delegate of Colombia. First, it is quite clear that at present we are still facing
a situation of stalemate, and impasse, in the sense that major problems in the area of commodities and international cooperation in the field of trade are still without any solution in view. Prices taken as a whole are still unremunerative in a number of vital products; in some cases, it is true, prices went up, but basically due to supply shortages. As a whole, it is nevertheless true that the very marginal gains by developing countries in export earnings, registered in 1976, were more than offset by negative trends in terms of trade. In other words, the increase in our export earnings has been more than offset by a much heavier burden in the cost of importing the goods we need for our own requirements; moreover, a number of vital products for a number of developing countries are increasingly threatened by competition from synthetics.
It is also a cause of grave concern to developing countries that the production policies and trade policies of some developed countries are increasingly imposing restrictions which affect negatively the export interest of developing countries. The report of the CCP expands these ideas; now I just want to hint at these problems.
Coming now to specific topics which we would like to bring to the attention of the Council , may I mention the case of hard fibres. It is a case in which prices are unremunerative and the producers are obliged to make enormous sacrifices in order to face the competition of synthetics. This burden is extremely heavy. We believe it is important that the international community gives support to the policy of transfer of processing facilities to producing developing countries. We also believe that in relation to hard fibres and jute we have to consider the natural product and the synthetics together in any arrangement to ensure better conditions of trade in this sector. These points of view were advanced to the inter-governmental groups which deal with the specific items and also in the 51st Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems.
In the meat sector we are facing restrictions of a very severe nature on the part of some developed countries. We are happy that the Inter-governmental Group on Meat adopted at its last session a rather comprehensive set of guidelines on production, consumption and trade of meat and meat products. Now it is necessary that we implement these guidelines. We very much hope that, at its next session, the Inter-governmental Group on Meat, will be in a position to register clear progress in the direction of the implementation of the guidelines and of the removal of the restrictions that are facing this important sector of international trade.
We are certainly happy with the fact that the recent meeting of the Group on the Elements of a Banana Agreement has made some progress. We hope progress will continue towards an early definition of the elements of such an international banana agreement.
On tea, it is very important that, as soon as possible, a comprehensive programme of action for this product be developed.
On oilseeds, we have a very important sector for developing countries and our views on the subject were advanced in detail at the time of the last sessions of the Inter-governmental Group on Oil Seeds, Oils and Fats, and of the CCP to the effect that it is urgent that restrictions on imports of these products be removed. They are affecting our export interests in an unfair and unjust manner. We believe that it is important that the Inter-governmental Group on Oil Seeds, Oil and Fats, at its next session develop a comprehensive set of guidelines to help development of more fair trade practices in this specific field.
On Rice, we believe that, while we have a situation of surplus right now, we must be extremely attentive to avoid a complete reversal of this situation; a disincentive to producers would be capable of creating a condition of acute shortage. Wo believe that it is important that the recommendations adopted by the inter-govermental Group on Rico at its nineteenth session be implemented fully and that the Croup at its next session be in a position to register such implementation.
In hides and skins, we have an area where practically only FAO is working. We are going to have hopefully next year, 1978, the Ad Hoc Meeting on Hides and Skins. This is an important sector for developing countries and, at the same time, a sector which faces discrimination in terms of market access - in fact, not only discrimination, but reverse preference, in the sense that in some Instances production of developed countries Is favoured over the production of developing Count ries, It Is a kind of CSP in reverse. We very much hope that the Ad /?/ (¡roup on Hides and Skins will be in a position to look into the economic problems that face thas sector and provide usefu guidance to the development of trade.
would also like to bring to your attention one additional area of concern lor developing countries. Our colleague from the Philippines has already advanced the basic points: the question of the Codex Alimentarius. We believe that there are growing indications that lood standards developed under the aegis of the Codex Alimentarius Commission are not always fully attuned to the requirements of developing countries. There are also indications that some of those standards have a negative impact, first on food Industries in developing countries, second on the export interest of those countries. These are serious matters. While wo believe that the Codex Allmentarius work is extremely important we also believe that the work of the Codex must be attuned to its own statutes, which state very clearly that the Codex standards must safeguard the health of the consumer and at the same time, promote fair trade practices. We believe that the time has come for the International community to take a second look at food standards to ensure that they are relevant to developing countries and at: the same time do not affect our exporting interests and our food Industries adversely. At the Committee on Commodity Problems the (¿roup of 77 presented a specific proposal as a contribution to improving the work of Codex: a proposal to have the CCP assist the codex Commission in ensuring that food standards do not bring harm to our export interests and our food Industries, We made this proposal in a constructive spirit, in a way to ensure that the objectives of Codex are really met. We very much hope that the Council will be in a position to pass these recommentions to the Codex Commission so that the Commission can take a position on this matter and report to the Council on the manner it believes the CCP can assist it, as appropriate, in the performance of its tasks. 1 must say that the suggestion that the CCP be associated with the Codex Alimentarius Commission was made taking into account the specific competence of the Committee on Commodity Problems on trade matters. This Committee has technical competence and is therefore alile to assess the impact on the economies of developing countries of food standards. We very much hope that the Council will be in a position to recommend to the Codex Alimentarius Commission to take a favourable consideration of the proposal made by the developing countries, a proposal which, Í insist, was made in the interests of improving the work of Codex and in no way of detracting from it.
Briefly, I would now like to refer to the question of agricultural adjustment. We understand that a report will be put before the Conference. Of course, we very much hope that this specific report on the implementation of the guidelines on agricultural adjustment will be a comprehensive report, that although brief, will take into account the need to bring clear information on such areas as the use of national resources by developed countries in a manner compatible with the policies of adjustment; and transfer of resources, including reverse transfers, so that we have a clear view of what is really being transferred to developing countries in terms of assistance. We also hope that the report will show to which extent the production policies of developed countries really follow the policies of adjustment recommended in the guidelines. We hope that the Director-Cenerai in his report will pay attention to this specific question which is probably the essence of any policy of agricultural adjustment.
As far as the timing of the next sessions, my delegation fully concurs with the Chairman of the CCP to the effect that, given the actual situation, the report on the agricultural adjustment can go straight to the Conference, without having a specific special session of the CCP just to consider it. We believe this will be more expeditious, since we have a tight schedule of meetings in the second part of the year.
S.S. MAHDI (India): I will be very brief because a number of points which I wanted to make have already been touched upon by the previous speakers, especially the Philippines and Brazil. I fully endorse the rather comprehensive statement which was made just by Brazil. In fact, most of the things that had to be said have been said in the.Committee on Commodity Problems What we could do here is to high-light a few salient aspects, and although there might not be any factor of additionaliy to the deliberations of the CCP, let us hope that this Council will make at least one contribution to what has been done in the CCP. Here I am referring to many of the paragraphs of the report which start like with this: some delegates said this, others said that, many said this and a few said that. Let us hope that "some" will become "many'' and in some cases "many'' will become "all''. these introductory remarks, our delegation is gratified to note that the CCP is coming of age. Of course, this has resulted in some problems which will find reflection here also but we should not be unduly worried on that account. These problems are part of the process through which CCP is undergoing and also a reflection of developments in other international fora from which it is neither possible nor right to insulate the deliberations of CCP. In this context we note with satisfaction the emphasis given by the Director-General on close cooperation between the Secretariat of FAO and the Secretariat of UNCTAD in the joint preparation and servicing of meeting on agricultural commodities.
We are also in agreement with the view expressed in the report of the CCP that the work of intergovernmental groups of the CCP should be seen in line with the set of objectives laid down in the UNCTAD 4 Resolution on Integrated Commodities Programme.
In this regard we would very much like to stress that the intergovernmental groups of the CCP should share the same sense of urgency and, if I may use that word, impatience which permeates the related fora in UNCTAD. The pace of work of some of the IGG's is rather leisurely, and here I am constrained to refer to the recent deliberations on bananas which took place last week. We had hoped that some conclusions would be reached which could be discussed in the forthcoming meeting of UNCTAD, but this did not come to pass. In our view, the work of the CCP intergovernmental groups should in no way upset the timetable set for meetings on individual commodities within the framework of UNCTAD.
With regard to the happenings in other fora, we entirely agree with the rather mildly worded conclusions in paragraph 72 of the CCP report which agreed, and this agreement was also the result of some long debates, that the progress has been slow, and serious concern was expressed over the failure so far of the international community to resolve the long-standing programmes affecting agricultural commodities, particularly those of the developing countries.
Turning to another item which has not so far been touched upon, I would like to draw your attention to the question of economic cooperation among developing countries. This matter was brought to the attention of the CCP among other items, and the conclusions of the CCP are given in paragraph 78. The subject has been under discussion in various fora for quite some time now. There are numerous General Assembly Resolutions. There was a conference which was recently held in Mexico. UNCTAD is also giving increasing attention to the matter, and if I remember aright, our own FAO Conference has also pronounced on the subject.
Agriculture being the most important sector in the economy of developing countries, we hope and expect that FAO will give evidence of a more active role in promoting economic cooperation among developing countries within the area of its responsibility. In our view, activities concerning economic cooperation among developing countries within FAO must not be confined to one or two units of economic and social departments. The contents of these activities should be provided with the involvement of all or nearly all technical units in the Organization.
No doubt FAO had earlier undertaken activities which could be brought under the category of ECDC, and it is not my intention to underrate their importance, but we think it is time now to go beyond the compilation of inventories of what has been done in the past and to draw inspiration and to have a fresh look at this matter in FAO in the light of the recent mandates of the General Assembly and our own Conference.
I shall be very brief on specific commodity matters discussed in the report. As a number of items have been touched upon by previous speakers.
With regard to Coir International, we hope that the ad hoc working party will complete its work expeditiously, and we hope further that Coir International would be set up at the earliest possible opportunity. We would like to express the same hope with regard to Jute International. In this connexion, I would like to draw attention to the competition that products like jute are facing with synthetics, we feel that parallel consideration to synthetics should continue to be given by the various intergovernmental groups. How it affects the economies of the developing countries could be illustrated by one example. Although that commodity is not within the purview of any of the intergovernmental groups in FAO, I would give the example of lac of which India is one of the biggest exporters. Now, this commodity affects the economic status of one of the most deprived sections of our population, that is, the people living in the forests. They collect and derive their living from it, but in recent years, because of the stiff competition with synthetics, the prices have been going down, and this phenomenon is affecting one of the most deprived sections of our population. This is just an illustration and this example could be applied to other things which are facing such competition with synthetics.
About hides and skins, I would again endorse the remarks made by Brazil.
Finally, about food standards: personally, I was a little baffled at the heat generated by the subject in the CCP. The Group of 77, including my delegation, was making a very simple request: . the CCP should have something to do with the work of the Codex Alimentarius insofar as it affects trade matters. This to our delegation is a very reasonable request to which I do not think any exception could be taken. What we were proposing was that the CCP should be associated in particular with the task of monitoring the impact of food standards on food and especially the impact of these standards on the export interests of developing countries. So far the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission has been conducted in a rather cosy atmosphere. We do not want to disturb the peace, but at the same time let us face the fact that this work will come more and more under the scrutiny of developing countries and also, I must say, developed countries. In this connexion I have recent information that the group of experts responsible for standards which meets regulary under the aegis of the European Economic Commission is also saying precisely the same thing. I do not have the document before me, but in their work programme they are including an item which says: "Consideration will be given to the possibilities of developing methods of measuring the economic impact of standards and certification of international trade in certain sectors.'
Therefore I will heartily endorse this suggestion which has just been made by the delegate of Brazil, because we also think food standards are too important a matter to be left only to food technicians. In a constructive spirit, we would like to offer a specific suggestion in this regard which our delegation would commend for favourable consideration and recommendation by this Council.
The suggestion is this: that the draft of each standard before it is adopted should be accompanied by a trade impact statement to be prepared by the FAO Secretariat unit responsible for Codex Alimentarius Commission in consultation with other units concerned, and especially FAO Commodities Division.
This impact statement should be considered at the stage of step 8 of the procedure for elaboration of worldwide Codex standards. Here I would refer to page 32 of the Codex Alimentarius Commission Procedure Manual. The suggestion should not sound as radical as it appears because, as I have just said, the European Economic Commission is also looking at it, their project is also practically the same, and we understand that in the United States recently a similar impact statement in relation to the environment had been introduced with regard to food standards.
We therefore feel that this request made by the developing countries in CCP which has been reiterated here is reasonable and deserves careful consideration by the Council,
A. IMTIAZI (Pakistan): My delegation has read document CL 71/6 with interest. We in Pakistan have noted with concern and regret the failure of the international community in fora such as UNCTAD, GATT and the Conference on International Economic Cooperation to resolve chronic problems affecting agricultural commodities, particularly those of the developing countries.
We attach high priority to UNCTAD's integrated programme as a step towards the new international economic order wherein the developing countries will hopefully receive fair prices for the goods and services they produce and export, and also, again hopefully, will have to pay reasonable prices for the goods and services they have to import to meet their essential development and consumption needs.
The problem of ever-deteriorating terms of trade against developing countries like Pakistan deserves urgent attention before it becomes untenable and gets out of hand. We in Pakistan have had first hand experience of deteriorating terms of trade against us when the unit prices of primary commodities we exoort, e.g. rice, went down sharply while unit prices of important imported items such as pesticides, agricultural machinery, equipment and even fertilizers went up. This has evidently created difficult balance of payment problems for us.
Even at the risk of over-simplication and maybe some repetition we would urge that FAO uses its good offices and influence to secure expeditious action along the following lines: (i) arrangements be devised to ensure fair and stable terms of trade for the developing countries; (ii) the share of the developing countries' exports in the markets of the developed countries be enlarged by removing or at least by relaxing the restrictions on the exports of the developing countries; (iii) relief be provided to the developing countries in the matter of their external debt burden which with every day that goes by is becoming more and more crushing; (iv) developing countries whose primary exports are experiencing competition from synthetic substitutes should be assisted by the adoption of helpful trade, monetary and fiscal policies by developed countries; <v) and last, productive efficiency of the developing countries should be improved through generous transfer of appropriate modern technology from the advanced to the less advanced countries.
L. PURMESSUR (Mauritius): I shall be very brief. The Mauritius delegation has read with interest document CL 71/6, the Report of the 51st Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems. We would agree generally with the findings and conclusions contained in the Report.
However,I would like to make some brief comments on some of the problems, especially in relation to international trade and the stabilization of prices of export commodities of developing countries. One of the major problems facing developing countries in their efforts to increase agricultural development is instability of the price of the primary exports. There is, therefore, an urgent need for basic agreement relating to the stabilization of these prices. We are conscious of the efforts that are being made by FAO in this direction, in cooperation with UNCTAD.
We welcome the successful follow-up recommendation of the sub-group of exporters of the Intergovernmental Group on Tea in April 1976 on the establishment of an international tea promotion campaign section. We hope it will be possible in the near future to work out an international tea agreement.
With regard to sugar, the Report of the 51st Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems express the hope that negotiations in Geneva for a new international sugar agreement would meet with success. Unfortunately, such was not the case. We hope in the light of further discussions and consultations it will be possible to convene another session of the conference under the auspices of UNCTAD with a view to reaching an agreement, otherwise the present trend in the ever-falling price of sugar, which is well below the cost of production, will cause a great hardship to some developing countries, which have to rely on this commodity for their export earnings.
J.C. VIGNAUD (Argentina): Deseo en primer lugar señalar el reconocimiento de la delegación Argentina por el importante trabajo que ha hecho el Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos bajo la eficiente conducción del señor Embajador Magombe. Este documento del informe del Comité ha sido estudiado con particular atención por mi gobierno y en base a ese estudio se ha preparado una larga intervención que tengo aquí delante de mí. No obstante eso, teniendo en cuenta las prolijas intervenciones que hemos escuchado, creo que sería un aporte más constructivo al debate si en vez de leer este discurso le pido que se incorpore en las actas; que el Comité de Redacción lo tenga en cuenta en su momento y me queda solamente agregar que mi delegación apoya cuanto se dijo ayer en nombre del Grupo de los 77, que desea además expresar su satisfacción por la labor que viene realizando la Dirección de Productos Básicos y Comercio, que está apoyando con gran eficiencia tanto al CPPB como a los grupos que de él dependen.
EL PRESIDENTE: De acuerdo con las disposiciones vigentes se insertará en las actas el /?/ de la delegación de Argentina.
Antes de conceder la palabra a 6 oradores que aun están en la lista se ha planteado una moción de orden por Gabon.
G. DE BARKER (Netherlands): I would like to speak about one subject that has been discussed in the report on page 12 item (g) , Food Standards.
Before doing that I would just make a general remark that our delegation is still under the impression that the CCP, although it is perhaps one of the oldest commissions that exists in FAO, does not show any signs of getting old. Therefore, we wish it a long life. It is a very useful floor or forum for having the different viewpoints put on the floor and discussed with an open mind, also as a sort of preparation for the more negotiating work in UNCTAD and GATT, etc. So we feel this is a very good Commission.
I would like to say a bit more about the food standard issues. I am under the impression this is one of the issues which keeps the Commission young. Reading the report and also reading point 18 of the statement of the Group of 77 which was added to the report, I got the impression that the effect and impact of food standards on trade on the food industry was mostly felt in developing countries, that that was the problem, the issue, the impact on trade and the food industry in developing countries. I would like to stress the fact that this impact is felt ali over.
There is certainly an influence, an impact, an effect on food standards whether they are national food standards, whether they are international, whether they are accepted under the Codex Alimentarius standards or for their bi-national or national improvement, they have also a big influence on trade, on export, on import, on consumer habits and on the food industry. So it is certainly not only a matter that affects trade and the food industry in the developing countries. Certainly not. I should like to give two quite recent examples. We are here in Italy at present. Most of us who have come here appreciate, try out and usually like that nice red drink Campari - Campari Soda. Everybody seems to think that the red comes from the grapes or something else. But that has nothing to do with it. The red colour comes from an amaranth colouring. As far as I know from reading the newspapers, though I do not know whether it is true, this has been forbidden now because it is dangerous to our health. There is a certain health risk. That means that the Campari Soda is facing a lot of problems. I am quite sure that we shall not drink Campari any more because it is no longer red and it looks like any white or non-coloured drink. I give that example only because the food standards - and this is certainly a food standard - has a big influence on our own national problems.
The second example is the big storm that blew up in the United States when all sweeteners were forbidden by the Food and Drug Administration. That is something that took the attention of the whole world. That is my first remark.
My second remark is that before forbidding anything in this world the evidence of a risk to our health, a health hazard, must be weighed against the importance of the food industry, of exports and of consumer preference. These must be weighed and it is a very difficult thing to do. One must weigh up the one-thousandth chance that I will get sick against a big export or import. This is a vast problem and it must be discussed in a forum where both voices are heard. Both sides must be weighed one against the other. Therefore, I could not say that I would go along with the idea that the CCP should be such a forum because the CCP will always stress matters of trade just like food technologists will stress the importance of a colourant or sweetener. This must be done in a forum where you have both voices and, so far as I know, the procedure in the Codex Alimentarius Commission is a careful procedure. The delegate of India spoke of eighteen steps. I do not know how many there are but it is a careful procedure in order to come to a decision. I should like to see in the Codex procedure where it is stated that the balance between the trade impact and the food industry impact is really fair and just compared with the impact on our health. We all feel that is very important.
I am glad that my turn to speak came after the Indian delegate because I was struck by his proposal at first sight. I must say that I am not an expert in the field so I am not giving a real judgment on the matter but it looked to me like an attempt to be fair in the matter by asking the Codex Unit here, the Division on Nutrition, in consultation with the Commodities Division, to come up with a statement of the impact on health and then bring that again to the Codex Commission. That seems to me to be a fairer approach than that discussed on the CCP and I should like very much to hear what the Secretariat experts sitting on their high chairs have to say. I should like to tell our Codex experts at home what they feel about it and whether this could be perhaps the solution to this very important problem.
My main point is that it is an important matter for all of us in all countries. It is important for trade, for consumers, and for ourselves sitting here but the weighing-up must be done very carefully and there must not be any overpowering by any of the groups nor by the health people. If we listened to the health people we would not eat anything anymore. Everything in one way or another is bad for our health. If we listened to the trade people or the food industry we must eat everything. From looking at the television one would think everything is good for u. Somewhere there must be a balance and I hope that the Secretariat by giving good advice to the Codex Committee is able to give it a balance although I believe that what I like is good for me.
L. LAPEBY (Gabon): Je voudrais tout d'abord m'excuser auprès des honorables délègues de cette session du Conseil. Nous avons pris un certain retard, Monsieur le Président l'a souligné ce matin. Or nous sommes en train de parler d'un problème qui n'est pas de notre compétence: le Codex Alimentarius. Si quelqu'un a le droit d'en parler dans cette salle, c'est Monsieur Weill de la délégation française, qui a été président de la Commission du Codex Alimentarius. C'est un problème qui demande des experts. La Commission du Codex Alimentarius accepte tous les membres de la FAO ou de l'OMS, sans contribution supplémentaire, pour participer aux travaux de la Commission et de la vingtaine de comités qui existent. Parmi ces comités, il y a le Comité des produits. Je viens d'assister au Comité de l'étiquetage au Canada, à Ottawa. Nous avons eu pas mal de difficultés et nous avons renvoyé un grand nombre de problèmes au Comité des produits.
Il serait trop long de parler des problèmes du Codex Alimentarius, et avec votre permission, je souhaiterais que les délégués s'abstiennent de parler du problème des normes alimentaires et que nous nous penchions uniquement sur l'autre aspect que présente le document que nous étudions. Si nous nous aventurons dans des discussions d'un autre genre, nous risquons de ne pas intéresser un certain nombre de membres ici présents qui n'ont pas l'habitude de suivre ces problèmes qui demandent des experts en la matière.
Je crois que le délégué des Pays-Bas a été très pertinent dans son intervention en nous rappelant
par exemple le cas de l'amarante. Je rappellerai, si le délégué des Etats-Unis me le permet, le cas de la saccharine. Et combien de problèmes de ce genre se posent dans chaque pays! Par conséquent, laissons ces problèmes au Codex Alimentarius.
EL PRESIDENTE: Estoy seguro de que los miembros del Consejo tomarán nota de la declaración del colega de Gabon.
A. GISSE (Niger): La délégation du Niger félicite le Comité des produits pour son excellent rapport. En effet, ce rapport renferme les produits principaux des pays développés, donc des produits dont la baisse des prix se fait sentir sur la balance des paiements de nos pays.
J'ajouterai que la crise économique qui a secoué le monde ces dernières années a eu des conséquences plus graves dans les pays en développement que dans les pays développés. En effet, la plupart des pays en développement ont une économie faible, basée essentiellement sur l'agriculture. Elle est elle-même très aléatoire et dépend des caprices pluviométriques et des attaques des divers ravageurs des cultures.
Cette fragilité de l'économie de nos pays en développement explique l'instabilité des coûts des produits agricoles. La hausse des produits chimiques accentue le fossé entre les pays développés et les pays en développement. Nous savons tous qu'alors que les prix des produits chimiques ces trois dernières années ont triplé ou même quadruplé, les prix des produits agricoles à l'exportation ont diminué, ou s'ils ont augmenté, c'est sur la base d'une fourchette de 10 pour cent.
C'est pourquoi la delegation du Niger appuie sans réserve les recommandations du Groupe des 77 sur les propositions d'ajustement des prix des produits agricoles. Le Niger insiste pour que la plus grande priorité soit dounée à l'application du programme intégré de la CNUCED avec la participation effective de la FAO. En effet, l'accroissement de la production nécessitant l'utilisation d'engrais, de matériel agricole coûteux, il importe que les produits agricoles soient valorises et protégés dans les pays en développement pour mieux garantir une croissance harmonieuse et équilibrée de l'humanité, un meilleur équilibre international.
Le Niger approuve également l'aide qu'apporte la FAO dans l'élaboration des politiques nationales pour un certain nombre de produits agricoles.
En ce qui concerne les autres points de l'ordre du jour, le Niger approuve les propositions du Comité des produits.
C. HIGGINSON (United States of America): I too want to commend this CCP report. It was a very good meeting. There were a number of issues and the report I believe gives a fair portrayal of the results of that meeting. I should also like to commend the Chairman of the CCP, Mr. Magombe. It is through his leadership that a lot of these issues were resolved to the extent that you see them in the report. Therefore, I do not believe that in the Council it is worthwhile going over that report word for word., Most people have commended it. I think it should be left at that position.
The report does raise a number of issues that the Committee asks the Council to look at. The principal one we are discussing here now is the suggestion that the CCP involve itself in the trade aspects of the Codex Alimentarius work. I should like to indicate that the United States Government has certain agreement with the delegate from the Netherlands and the delegate from Gabon. When we start discussing the Codex Alimentarius we are working in a very technical field in which the FAO and the WHO both have split expertise. The Codex Alimentarius meetings are open. Anybody who wishes to participate in one of those meetings may do so.
The delegate from Brazil pointed out that the Codex Alimentarius has two paramount goals - the protection of your, my and the rest of the world's health and also to ensure that there are no trade restrictions. In the past the Codex Alimentarius has worked quite successfully to meet both of those conflicting goals. If a country feels very strongly on one or the other it is up to it to participate in the Codex Alimentarius in order to express its views. Obviously not everybody can always be happy with all the decisions but they do operate by consensus so there is quite a lot of protection here. Further, I should like to point out that in GATT there is a group on non-tariff barriers. If a food standard is a very substantial barrier to international trade this international group at GATT is the very logical place, at least in the view of the U.S. Government, to raise these issues and to have them discussed.
Finally, the delegate of India had a suggestion that the Codex Alimentarius, with the help of the Commodities Division of the FAO, prepare an impact statement. The United States has this, as he pointed out, in its environmental legislation. I would just like to warn this group that I am quite sure that all of the staff of the Commodities Division - Mr. Leeks' Division - would be totally occupied in drafting up an impact statement. In fact, if it works like in the United States, I think everybody in FAO could be working on impact statements. I therefore suggest that this group consider very carefully what exactly it is suggesting in this field, and also think as to whether maybe it is not already protected. As I have said, the Codex Alimentarius is open to all participants and very definitely has as one of its paramount roles the trade effects of its food standards.
F. SHEFRIN (Canada): We do not plan to make a general statement or to repeat what has been said in this chamber during the past few days. We can also point out that, like many countries, we are not particularly happy with the international price fluctuations. We are having this current experience in the case of wheat, where not only have prices fluctuated but they have dropped, and it is a major concern to us. So we have much in common with the few, the many, the some and the severals, although at times here in the past few years I felt I should say "as a member of the Few Group I will say the following'', because we are very few these days.
We find the CCP report is very clear and very well written. It was easy to read, and we like that. The points have been made very clearly and sharply, though I do understand the meeting was a very active one. We would like to deal with just one item and that is the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
We, like all countries around this table, are very much concerned that food standards can be used as trade barriers. We have argued on this and we have made our case in the GATT.that countries have used food standards as trade barriers.
As far as Canada is concerned, we have had an interest in the Codex from the very beginning. As a matter of fact, I was rather fortunate to be able to attend the founding conference in Geneva, which is a very fitting place because that is where GATT meets also. We had some very interesting discussions in those days because some of the very active delegates from the developing countries even at that time stressed the danger of food standards becoming trade barriers.
So this item is not so simple as it appears in our discussions. At first it was understood that agreement on food standards must be a voluntary cooperation; there is to be no rushing into it. Ten steps were established and they have been very hard to achieve. Up to the seventh one we moved very quickly; after that it was a terrible frustration to get to the eighth, and then by the ninth we get completely stalled. The members of the Codex Committee have been from developed and developing countries.
What is interesting in Codex work is that committees are sponsored by governments, not by the FAO and in many instances governments act as host countries. Canada acts as host on food labelling and we always make a point of informing all our friends in developing countries that we are discussing food labelling.
The delegate of Brazil, in presenting his case, said he was doing so in a very constructive manner and mood. I want to assure him that we all share the constructive attitude; we would not want to be destructive in this work. So, in that sense, he and I have something in common. We think however it would be a very serious mistake to tie in the CCP with the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The CCP is a very wonderful organization. We can get together, express our views, and speak freely, whether we are experts or not. I do not agree with the delegate of India who said, the Codex has become a cosy club for experts. I have sat on some of the meetings and, as the delegate of Gabon has just pointed out, it is anything but a cosy club. I am not even clear as to how the CCP would get involved. I feel here, on the basis of our experience with Codex work that it would be a mistake to introduce the CCP into the Codex activities. As a matter of fact, the CCP is having trouble doing what it is supposed to do. I was looking at the terms of reference and I do not think we are quite living up to the objectives. I would hope all countries would become active participants in the various Codex committees. We feel that at this point it would be no advantage to the CCP or to the Codex to undertake what is proposed by the delegate of Brazil, which he says is the proposal of the 77. That may be true, but as a Group of One we have difficulty in accepting it.
K. ITANO (Japan): We appreciate the work of the CCP and we have the report of the last session of the CCP which reflects the exhaustive discussions that took place there. We therefore do not intend to go into detail at this time and wish to confine ourselves to comment on one specific point: the problem of food standards. Various opinions have been expressed by previous speakers and our delegation is of the opinion that this matter is a very specialized and technical one, beyond the competence of the CCP and also of this Council.
Therefore, in this connexion, we share the opinion expressed by the delegates of the Netherlands, Gabon, the United States and others.
A.A.W. LANDYMORE (United Kingdom): The United Kingdom delegation would like to associate itself with those other delegations that have thanked the Committee on Commodity Problems for a really excellent report. We should also like to associate ourselves in a very sincere tribute indeed to Ambassador Magombe's conduct of that meeting. We also thought that he did a magnificent job and I should like to have this within the records of this Council.
I propose to concentrate mainly on the problem of associating the Committee on Commodity Problmes with the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. I feel that we should be very wise to take the advice of the delegate of Gabon. He has drawn attention to the technicality of the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and has suggested that we avoid going into the details of those technicalities. We have, of course, to take account of paragraph 67 of the CCP report which says:
''The Committee was unable to reach consensus on this subject. It agreed that this subject and its deliberations on it should be called to the attention of the Council.''
Now, if it is being called to the attention of the Council, the Council can hardly avoid making some kind of remarks, even if they are not totally agreed remarks. The position of the United Kingdom remains mainly as summed up in paragraph 66 of this report. This refers to the doubts of several delegations about the Committee dealing with food standards, and these delegations pointed out that these questions involved consideration of very specialized and technical issues - a point which the delegate of Gabon stressed himself - and required certain expertise which the delegates normally attending the sessions of the Committee did not have. I think this is more than true. What is more, of course, that expertise is in very short supply.
The last point I would wish to emphasize in regard to paragraph 66 of the Report is that in our view it would be much better if the Committee on Commodity Problems were to concern itself with particular trade problems which may arise from the applications of food standards if and when they arise and this is our special point as far as the Committee on Commodity Problems is concerned • Dealing with the role of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. I think in the first place it is very important to remember that it is a joint commission of the FAO and WHO and a monitoring role for a single committee of this Council is not necessarily something that could be imposed as such.
There are a number of other factors of which in our view close account must be taken. There is the first point that the developed countries have well developed systems of food law which have taken years to build up and the task of reaching agreement on international standards within the context of domestic food legislation is a very complex one. It requires, as has been pointed out, very considerable expertise and, as I have said that is in very limited supply in all countries. We cannot bring our experts to CCP to deal with this any more than we could bring;them to this Council to deal with it, and what is more, if we did I think half of what they said would be incomprehensible. It seems to us that it is sensible to concentrate the application of this expertise in the right place rather than to diffuse it ; and the Codex is the acknowledged forum for this kind of work
The second point I would like to make is that the membership of the Codex is open to developing countries and indeed, many developing countries are members of the Codex. The best way to influence events in that body would be better representation at meetings and better briefing of those who do attend.
The third point I should like to make is that the best way of meeting the problems of the developing countries, of which we are all very conscious, is not necessarily to proliferate commodity standards. The problem is to get them enforced domestically. The problem is again the necessary infrastructure for enforcement such as a corps of trained inspectors, a system of analytical laboratories and so forth, which would be there to assist developing countries in achieving the standards for export and the acceptability of those exports within the context of the domestic food legislation of the importers.
Now it is true that Codex itself has no mandate and no funds to engage in this type of work but it can and it does offer advice on the type of model legislation and on the mecanics of an effective, enforcement system. What is more, FAO and the World Health Organization are themselves involved in a wide range of food control projects in a number of developing countries. It seems to us that the Codex itself is very much aware of the problems of the developing countries. We would draw attention to the fact that coordinating regional committees have been set up for Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. We would draw attention to the fact that procedures of Codex allow these committees) to develop the regional standards so that the machinery already exists for the formulation of standards for commodities of interest to a particular region.
The General Codex Committee on general principles is at present considering the possibility of formulating a code of ethics for international trade in food following one of the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on the Environment 1972. It remains to be seen what success attends these efforts, and any code could in any case be no more than a palliative until such time as developing countries can set up their own enforcement systems. Any so-called "help" given to Codex as we see it would probably mean influencing the contents of standards against the better judgment of that body. It is true that Codex has trade responsibilities written into its terms of reference but that is not to be interpreted as meaning that those standards should be dropped against the interests of the consumer in the interest of simply promoting trade. We believe that that would not be help, we believe it would be hindrance. Codex itself is a voluntary body. Its standards are not mandatory and they rely for their currency on acceptance by member countries. In our view any alteration to standards would merely ensure that these standards were accepted by fewer member countries and would to that extent be less effective.
Now let me come finally on the subject of Codex to the suggestion by the delegate of India that the draft of each standard before adoption should be accompanied by a trade impact statement to be prepared by the FAO Secretariat. To start with I associate myself with what has been said by the delegate of the United States to the effect that that would probably absorb the whole time of a large part of the staff of FAO I do not think it is very practícalo
The second point I would like to make is that it does not seem to me to be very realistic to ask the Committee on Commodity Problems to consider these matters on an abstract and theoretical forecast and so I come back to the point that I made at the very beginning of this statement, and that is that it would be more realistic if the CCP were to concern itself with particular trade problems deriving from standards if and when they arise on the basis of experience and not of forecasts.
Can I now turn finally to the question of whether the CCP should have a special session before the next Conference in order to consider the question of agricultural adjustment. In this I wish to associate myself fully with the views of the delegate of Brazil, to the effect that this is neither necessary nor desirable.'
P . GUERIN (France): Ma délégation n'avait pas prévu d'intervenir sur ce point car l'objectivité du rapport de la 51ème session du Comité des produits a été soulignée par l'unanimité de nos collègues. Ce rapport reflète bien en effet les appréciations apportées au début du mois de mai par les uns et les autres sur la situation des marchés des principaux produits agricoles et les solutions à mettre en oeuvre au sein des différentes instances concernées pour parvenir à une stabilisation des marchés et à une expansion du commerce mondial, dans l'intérêt mutuel des pays en développement et des pays développés importateurs ou exportateurs.
Mais plusieurs de nos collègues ont évoqué les changements intervenus depuis cette session du Comité, depuis le début du mois de mai et certains points me paraissent devoir être relevés. A propos de la Conférence sur la coopération économique internationale, le dialogue Nord-Sud, je crois qu'il est abusif de parler d'un échec, en tous cas pour ce qui concerne les produits agricoles, puisqu'à Paris, le principe a bien été adopté de la création d'un fonds commun qui serait l'élément-clé du dispositif destiné à soutenir les actions de stabilisation des cours des principaux produits de base dans la ligne du programme integré défini par la résolution 93(iv) de Nairobi. Il faut espérer que la prochaine conférence de la CNUCED, au mois de novembre, permettra,sur ce point, de concrétiser cet accord.
Sur un second point, le sucre, (point qui a été évoqué par notre collègue de l'Ile Maurice, il faut effectivement et malheureusement, noter l'ajourne, ent de la Conférence de la CNUCED de Genève sur le sucre. Son Président a été chargé de procéder à des consultations préalables à la reprise éventuelle, à l'automne, de cette conférence sur des bases susceptibles de recueillir un accord des principales parties prenantes du commerce international de ce produit. Mais à notre sens, ce relatif échec était inévitable à partir du moment où l'on partait d'un projet d'accord fondé uniquement sur des quotas d'exportation.
L'expérience du non-fonctionnement des accords antérieurs établis sur la même base aurait pu être mise à profit et il est regrettable à mon sens que les recommandations de la CNUCED, lors de sa session de Nairobi, n'aient pas été suivies dès le départ en recherchant la possibilité d'un accord fondé à la fois sur le stockage et l'encadrement des fluctuations de prix. Il est à noter également qu'une certaine contradiction ne pouvait: manquer d'apparaître entre, d'une part, les revendications de prix minimum élevés et, d'autre part, la limitation de la production deproduits de substitution comme le lysoglucose bien sûr, et l'incitation au développement de la consommation. La détermination de la Communauté économique européenne de participer à la Conférence internationale, sur le sucre ne peut être mise en doute à la fois parce que, au travers des accords passés avec les pays de la Convention de Lomé, la Communauté économique européenne garantit à ces derniers un écoulement préférentiel et stable d'une partie considérable de leur production et parce que la vocation naturelle de plusieurs de ses membres est de produire du sucre blanc recherché par un grand nombre de pays en développement importateurs.
La Communauté économique européenne a donc le devoir de participer à un tel accord à condition qu'il contribue réellement à la stabilisation des cours, à la croissance maîtrisée de la production et de la consommation, qu'il tienne compte de tous les intérêts en présence et mette en oeuvre une solidarité commune des importateurs et des exportateurs à des conditions particulières pour les pays en développement les plus pauvres.
A propos du point qui a été longuement évoqué du Codex, je ne reviens pas sur la recommandation du Gabon sur ce point, mais je dis au passage que je partage totalement l'avis de nos collègues néerlandais, anglais et de nombreux autres et nous pensons en effet qu'il ne faut pas créer sur ce point d'ambiguïté; la commission FAO/OMS du Codex alimentarius a une tâche technique très complexe et difficile è accomplir et elle s'en acquitte parfaitement et comme l'ont dit d'autres délégations sur un autre plan dans le cadre des négociations commerciales multilatérales, le problème des entraves non tarifaires aux échanges est étudié avec une spécificité reconnue aux secteurs agricoles et la discussion n'a fait que s'engager sur ce point à savoir le problème de l'applicabilité d'un code des normes à l'agriculture et il faut poursuivre bien entendu cette discussion.
Puisque j'ai évoqué les négociations commerciales multilatérales sous l'égide du GATT, je tiens à relever ce qui est dit au paragraphe 71 du rapport à propos des divergences sur la façon d'aborder dans cette négociation les problèmes relatifs aux produits agricoles. Je crois là aussi que certains événements survenus depuis la rédaction de ce rapport et notamment la Conférence de Londres et la Conférence de Paris permettent raisonnablement de dire que ces divergences de procédures paraissent surmontées et qu'un consensuj est en train de se dégager pour aborder d'une façon pragmatique ces négociations danti le cadre de la spécificité reconnue du secteur agricole, en tenant compte des problèmes particuliers des pays en développement.
Sur un dernier point évoqué par notre collègue du Brésil à propos de l'ajustement agricole interna-tional, ma délégation estime que nous devons nous garder d'un excès d'ambition. Je ne parle pas de l'ambition qui est de produire de plus en plus de produits agricoles, je crois que le Brésil qui devient à ce titre le second exportateur mondial de produits agricoles est bien placé dans ce domaine pour montrer qu'il est à la mesure de ces ambitions. Je parle des ambitions des réalités économiques et. politiques de chacun de nos pays. Il ne peut être question, et je crois que tout le monde en est conscient autour de cette table, que notre tribune se transforme en tribunal qui jugerait les politiques agricoles, nationales ou régionales de l'un ou l'autre. Suffisamment de défis nous sont lancés pour que nous consacrions,avant tout, nos efforts à l'augmentation de la production agricole et à la lutte contre la malnutrition en nous gardant de décourager des producteurs agricoles, où qu'ils soient, dont la vocation est avant tout de répondre aux impératifs de la sécurité des approvisionnements nationaux et internationaux.
H. ADJI ISMET HAKIM (Indonesia) : First with regard to food standards, we have heard the reasoning behind this, and I think the Group of 77 would like to have these food standards considered by the CCP. It is not merely consideration of the standard itself but it is the trade impact of the food standards they would like to look at.
We have also heard the intervention by India that in other fora in other countries, the EEC is looking at the matter of the impact on trade of food standards, so it is reasonable I think that we can at least have the matter under our review, and if that is not possible then we wouli like to support the proposals made by India, that at least the draft of each standard be accompanied by a trade impact statement by FAO.
We really wonder at the statement made by two of our colleagues here, that it will absorb the whole time of the FAO. We would like to ask the Secretariat whether this is so, when they are doing the jobs as proposed by India.
The second point we would like to say on this concerns the International Agricultural Adjustment, We would like to support the view expressed by Brazil concerning the preparing of the report on the monitoring development and implementation of the Commission for Agricultural Adjustment, The view expressed by the Group of 77 should be fully taken into consideration.
The next point is also that I think when we prepare the guidelines for international adjustments, we look at them as a whole and try to harmonise national policies. If we are really inclined and indeed if we would like to implement the international order, then we think that this international adjustment is a start in that direction.
The third point we would like to stress is the agreement reached by the CCP and we support it with the recommendation that the FAO should continue its collaboration with the UNCTAD Secretariat, particularly in their joint preparation and servicing of meetings on agricultural commodities in the preparation of background material for the meetings on the integrated programme for commodities, and also that when negotiations are completed in UNCTAD, FAO is likely to be Involved in some of the
follow-up actions for certain commodities.
The last point we would like to make is that the Council also did agree to increase collaboration among developing countries to stimulate their trade,
W.A.F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): At this juncture, I wish to limit my delegation's comments to just a few remarks. First, regarding the question of associating the CCP with the work of the Codex Alimentarius, I have not very much to add to what has already been said by Gabon, Argentina, the U.S.A., the Netherlands, Japan and others, in particular as the Codex Alimentarius is not, if I may say so - please forgive me - a closed club but open to all members, and that all members can participate in and contribute to this Committee. But I can understand that some of the countries around the table have found that certain views have not been taken into consideration as they might have wished. If I ask myself - and if I can continue the free dialogue we do enjoy here at this Council meeting - I am very glad that we have it - If I ask myself why then I feel that perhaps sometimes it might be that what occasionally happens at home, might also sometimes happen in other countries, namely some sort of lack of coordination among different agencies. In this context, I wish to highlight that the standard of qualified people involved in food and nutrition problems, namely the experts, the medical doctors, the veterinarians and other technicians, all over the world now do not differ in their capacity. They have, as we find, the same standard and more or less the same views, and therefore they do understand each other and reach conclusions. I think therefore it would be necessary to see that provisions are being made within Governments that they pay attention to those questions which member countries do wish to be taken into consideration. However, as the United States pointed out and the United Kingdom recalled to us, we have a special Group to handle this question of non-tariff barriers in the GATT where these questions can be taken up.
I must say that on the contrary to what has been said, that standards would not help trading between countries, rather I would say that in the long run, standards can, could and do further trading between countries. Just to give an example of that: following the good example given by the Netherlands who very wisely did not give an example concerning his own country, but I will not hesitate to give an example of my own country. When about 25 years ago we tried to take up the tradition of exporting some special food products from our country to the United States, namely, Frankfurter Wiirstchen, sausages from Frankfurt, special hams from the region of Oldenburg and Schleswig-Holstein in the north of my country, we were told that our standards did not meet the hygienic standards applied in that country. Of course, we were not happy about that, as you can imagine, but on second thoughts we felt that perhaps it would be good to think over our own position and to discuss these problems amongst the technicians, and finally we have heard that this helped trading. This is the same question which we also do feel is involved here, if we think about the impact to which the Netherlands referred namely, that the impact of these standards which are, after all, evolved by the International Community where all can participate, it also has an impact on all countries. I therefore feel that we should leave that question to the Codex Alimentarius and to the other proper fora in which these matters can be taken up.
My second point refers to the question of International Agricultural Adjustment. We have no strong feelings about whether before the forthcoming Conference this question should be taken up for discussion at a special session of the CCP or not. We do agree with the speakers before ;s who said there is no necessity in particular because we feel that a certain adjustment does take place, and in particular, if we look at Table 1, FAO index numbers of world and regional food production in document CL 71/2, there in the table which is provided to us we can see that, for example, the annual rate of change in food production in the developed market economies in Western Europe, from theaverage figure given for 1961-70 which was 2.3 per cent, went down in 1970-76 - that means in the six years of the present decade - to 1.5. Now, there had, apparently, taken place a certain adjustment. On the other hand and this has been pointed out also in the Committee on Agriculture - developing countries are at the same time asked to make provision that the aid commitments are being fulfilled and that provision is being assured, so I do feel that this adjustment does take place.
A final word about the question of imports : with regard to my country, I can state that our imports of agricultural products of developing countries have doubled in terms of value during the last ten years and have reached a record level in 1976.
I. OROZCO (México): Antes de entrar en el fondo del asunto quisiera hacer una petición si para ello no hubiera incovenientes de la Mesa y del Consejo, puesto que aquí se ha hablado de los resultados positivos de la Conferencia Norte-Sur en cuanto a agricultura, alimentos y productos básicos. Si no fuera posible contar con una información de la Secretaría acerca de las conclusiones de la Conferencia Norte-Sur, nosotros, los países en desarrollo, por la información recibida más bien nos sentiríamos desalentados, pero mi delegación apreciaría bastante esta información.
Nosotros en cuanto á la labor del Comité de Problemas y Productos Básicos no podemos menos de apoyar esas conclusiones y la forma en que ha venido trabajando, aunque obviamente somos conscientes de la com plejidad de los problemas, y es por esto que también nosotros en general apoyamos los planteamientos y preocupaciones de los países miembros del Grupo de los 77, de los cuales mi país forma parte.
Nosotros también compartimos la preocupación de ese cuadro que ha sido expuesto por el delegado de Filipinas, que muestra una situación y condiciones desfavorables en los intercambios comerciales, por los ingresos que reciben los países en desarrollo por sus productos de exportación frente a los altos costos de los bienes importados provenientes de países desarrollados.
Nosotros no constatamos ninguna contradicción entre lo que se pide aquí respecto de la sugerencia valiosa que nos ha hecho el delegado de la India acerca de la función que la Dirección de Productos Básicos y Comercio de la FAO expongan su opinión sobre las repercusiones en el comercio internacional de alimentos cuando se trata de llegar a las normas del Codex Alimentarius. Nosotros no somos técnicos, no podemos hablar de la sustancia del asunto, pero al menos nos parece una sugerencia muy importante en cuanto es una información que debe ser distribuida a los miembros del Comité cuando estén en reunión y, cuando no estén en reunión, a todos los Estados Miembros y también a través de sus representantes permanentes acreditados aquí ante la FAO.
Porque es cierto que aquí constatamos un problema de complementariedad que existe entre el técnico y el humanista; parece que la labor del Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos sería la parte humanista y el Codex Alimentarius la parte técnica. No creo que por eso se excluyan las funciones de uno y otro.
EL PRESIDENTE: Me permito informar al colega y amigo de México que oportunamente el señor Walton atenderá su solicitud sobre los resultados de la Conferencia en cuanto a agricultura, alimentos y productos básicos, y expondrá los puntos de vista de la Secretaría a ese respecto cuando llegue el momento adecuado .
A. NIKKOLA (Finland): I will be very brief. Concerning food standards, the position of my delegation is the same as those delegations that have serious difficulties with the ideas expressed in paragraph 65 of the CCP report.
Many delegations have already referred to the multilateral trade negotiations going on within the framework of GATT. The Working Party on Non-Tariff Trade Barriers is mentioned.
I would also like to remind the Council that the so-called standard code or Code of Standards is being at present discussed within the framework of GATT. The GATT Agricultural Committee dealt with this some weeks ago. If the GATT standard code is accepted and is applied to farm products that will mean the establishment of special consultation mechinery, within the framework of which all complaints concerning trade impact for all food standards or other non-tariff trade barriers could be dealt with.
D. FRANTZESKAKIS (Grèce): Dans la session du Comité des produits d'avril dernier, nous avons passé en revue les grandes négociations internationales au sein de la CNUCED, du GATT et de la Conférence sur la coopération économique internationale. Evidemment, le sujet est très vaste et c'est peut-être la raison pour laquelle les progrès enregistrés ne sont pas tellement satisfaisants. En effet, on n'est pas encore parvenu à résoudre les problèmes habituels des produits agricoles.
La suggestion de confier à la FAO la lourde tâche de promouvoir des négociations sur les échanges mondiaux de produits agricoles et des accords produit par produit ou groupe de produits par groupe de produits, nous paraît être une heureuse initiative qui pourrait aider à obtenir des résultats plus encourageants. Nous félicitons aussi l'initiative du Directeur général qui a affecté les ressources nécessaires pour la pleine mise à profit de la longue et vaste expérience technique que possède la FAO en ce domaine.
D'ailleurs, les groupes intergouvernementaux de la FAO peuvent participer davantage et de façon plus efficace à l'action qui permet de suivre les divers produits, Grace aux connaissances spécialisées
qu'ils ont accumulées, ces groupes pourraient apporter une importante contribution au sein de la résolution 93 de la CNUCED.
La délégation de Grèce voudrait signaler que cette intervention parallèle ne devrait en aucun cas substituer les travaux des instances hautement compétentes habilitées à mener à bien ces négociations.
M.L. CAMERON (New Zealand): I wish to refer to items 1 and 2 under Matters Requiring Attention By The Council. We find the report of the work of the CCP and its subsidiary bodies of particular interest and value since New Zealand, like many developing countries, is dependent on the export of agricultural commodities for its economic wellbeing.
Indeed in New Zealend's case over 75 percent of its overseas earnings come from the export of agricultural products. Again, in common with many developing countries, export earnings are of paramount importance to our economy since we lack non-agricultural natural resources.
For this reason we sympathise and agree with the developing countries when they highlight the effects of fluctuating commodity prices on their export earnings and in particular when they criticize the restrictive trade practices and price support policies of some developed countries. Access restrictions to markets, high tariff and non-tariff barriers, and articially created surpluses which depress markets, all cause us major problems just as they cause difficulties to developing countries.
However, we are unable to agree that these problems should be allieviated by providing preferential treatment for the agricultural exports of developing countries, particularly when temporary restrictions on imports are introduced. This can penalize traditional exporters unfairly, and it seems to us more equitable and more effective to concentrate on removing these restrictions on market access in a non-discriminatory and across the board manner.
We also hold the view strongly that FAO is not the appropriate forum to discuss these matters in detail, and it is certainly not the appropriate forum to negotiate on these issues. Rather, trade negotiations are best undertaken at GATT and UNCTAD, and in these fora Zealand has played an active role for a number of years in seeking the removal of barriers to trade in agriculture for all countries.
If I might comment on the second item and speak as a major exporter of milk and meat products, all of which are particularly sensitive to food standard issues, we also have difficulty with the suggestion by the spokesman for the Group of 77 that the CCP should monitor the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission to ensure that food standards do not interfere with food trade, and in particular with the exports of developing countries.
New Zealand has always supported the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in the field of harmonization of food standards and elaboration of codes of hygiene practice for food production.
In our view Codex is one of the success stories of FAO and the World Health Organization, and one of the reasons for this is that it has remained a body where technical experts from both sides of the fence can resolve technical questions in a relatively non-political atmosphere. We would hope this practice could continue.
It is our belief that the development of uniform and objective food standards benefits both exporters and importers, both producers and consumers. We believe these standards facilitate trade rather than hinder it. The work of Codex reduces the differences between the import standards of countries, and in most cases this harmonization procedure lowers the unnecessarily strict standards of some countries. It can only be of benefit to exporters to know exactly what, standards they have to meet rather than to be faced with the difficulties and expense of trying to meet the highest common denominator of many different standards.
We consider that if countries have problems or grievances with particular standards - and we can see that they may well have problems, and we too as exporters have our share - then the appropriate place for these grievances to be is within Codex itself.
We foresee one further problem with the proposal for the CCP to oversee the work of the Codex Alimen-tarius Commission and that is that Codex work is administered jointly by two bodies, FAO and WHO. The problem is that these two organizations have different memberships and it is unlikely that several important countries that are members of WHO and not FAO would agree to a subsidiary body of FAO having a supervisory role over the work of Codex.
To conclude, we would urge that the Council does not recommend that the CCP should oversse and supervize the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
B. de AZEVEDO BRITO (Brazil): I believe it should be no surprise that I ask to speak again on the subject of the Codex Alimentarius; by the way, I must say that we Brazilians believe that in this Council, like in the Economic and Social Council and in other major bodies of the United Nations and specialized agencies, it is proper to discuss policy issues. We are here to bring our ideas and to come to conclusions, or at least to recognize our differences.
Reference has been made to the fact that Brazil, in spite of the problems of import restrictions imposed by some developed countries - and I am glad to see that New Zealand shares our feeling on import restrictions and difficulties that exporters are facing - is nowadays quite a large exporter. Such a fact reinforces and explains our interest in this particular issue. I should like first to take the point made by the Netherlands. Of course, there are always impacts from food standards. Even a favourable impact is in some cases possible. Our first concern is to see if the impact is negative and, if so, if it is unavoidable. Secondly, if the impact is unavoidable, we must see to what extent we can minimize the impact on the developing countries. Thirdly, - as developing countries have consistently said - food standards must have health as a paramount concern. The question is not of giving too much attention to health; probably too little attention has been paid. There is also the fact that the interest of the real consumer is not always taken into account. There are strong indications, that in many cases it is the trade interests of food processing industries in developed countries that really prevail. I will give one example. Was it health or considerations that dictated the reduction of the percentage of cocoa solids in chocolate from 32 percent to 25 and 18 percent? I would submit to you that it is in the interests of the consumer and his health that a high-quality product - in this case, with a high cocoa content should be kept. Thus we get, in some instances, instead of a chocolate product, a milk product with the name of chocolate. As cocoa prices go up the cocoa content in chocolate dictated by the Codex Alimentarius goes down.
The point was made that we have adequate machinery in Codex to examine these problems. May I say first that we have regional coordinating Committees. Our regional coordinating committee for Latin America is bogged down over a problem of participation. We, the Latins, want to meet alone to discuss our policies on food standards, and we are prevented from doing so by the insistence of some countries on participating in our deliberations. Are the mechanisms available in the Codex so good for us? The second point is about the substantive Codex committees. It has been said to us "you can go there and can make your point". Sure, you can make your point, but are not all the committees hosted and serviced permanently by the developed countries with all the consequences that this may have? We see standards being approved, one after the other, over our objections. Meetings curiously enough rarely take place where developing countries can easily attend, where we have delegations and full permanent representation. Those places are carefully avoided. From being the majority, which we are, we become an eternal minority and we see standards, step by step, being approved over our objections. We read a paragraph in the report about the objections of some commodity-producing countries, but are we happy with this situation? No, Sir.
When we come to the competence issue, it is true that the Codex Commission has two parents - WHO and FAO. WHO should and must take the lead on health issues and any problem on health is settled by WHO and its competent staff and bodies. Any problem on agricultural commodities should be dealt with by the competent staff and bodies of FAO. If we have a committee on commodities, competent in trade matters, there is no reason why it should not be used as far as appropriate. We are, of course, flexible; we present a proposal and we wish the Codex Commission to consider that proposal.
In relation to food aid, we have a committee on surplus disposal, which checks the effect of food aid on exporters. It is quite natural that appropriate machinery should be devised to do that kind of checking also in the domain of food standards. We suggested an already existing body for the sake of simplicity. Of course, the decision will have to be taken by the Codex Commission. The Codex Commission can use our suggestion or can set up an alternative mechanism for checking We are always open to suggestions and to dialogue on this particular point, but we are not satisfied with the present situation. Adequate machinery for assessment is necessary; it is also necessary that there should be adequate procedures, and we believe that the suggestion by the delegate of India to have trade impact statements at a certain stage of the development of the food standards is an excellent one; it is complementary to the proposal made by our Group of 77. We suggest therefore that all the results of this discussion should be brought to the Executive Committee of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and to the Commission itself, which would then report to the Council in 1978 on the measures it has adopted in order to take into account the concerns expressed here. We believe that we have reason for grievance and that we have not been able to prevail, under the present machinery of the Codex Alimentarius, in what are reasonable, just and fair requests. It is for that reason that we brought this issue to, the major body of FAO, the Council.
M, FOFANA (Observateur pour la Guinée): Monsieur le Président, nous voudrions à travers vous d'abord remercier son Excellence l'Ambassadeur MAGOMBE qui a dirigé avec son Bureau, de façon magistrale, les travaux du Comité sur les produits de base. Nous voudrions aussi remercier le secrétariat pour l'excellent document qu'il a fourni. Puisque je ne suis qu'un observateur, je ne vais pas abuser du temps que vous m'accordez et je voudrais dire que je me rallie entièrement aux déclarations faites par les représentants des Philippines et du Brésil.
En ce qui concerne justement le paragraphe 65 traitant du Codex Alimentarius, il me semble que le représentant du Brésil vient de donner un exemple sur lequel le Conseil pourrait méditer. Mais lisant attentivement ce paragraphe, je crois qu'il fait plus que mettre l'accent sur un principe que nous devrions envisager à la lumière de toutes les difficultés que rencontrent les pays en développement en ce qui concerne les normes, lesquelles ont des répercussions évidentes sur la commercialisation des produits de ces pays.
Je voudrais vous-donner un autre exemple, à la suite de celui que vient de donner le représentant du Brésil et qui concerne les tourteaux d'arachides. Le rapport qui est accepté actuellement est de 0,50 pour cent sur le produit fini et, pour un grand producteur comme le Sénégal, ceci équivaut à une perte d'environ 15 milliards par an. Les normes qui avaient été proposées et qui étaient à la portée du Sénégal auraient été de un pour cent. De un les négociations nous ont amenés à 0,7 pour finir à 0,5 et c'est ce qui a été accepté dans le cadre du Marché commun afin que le Sénégal puisse commercialiser. Or, ce qui se passe, c'est que ces pays achètent la matière première, traitent ce produit, le commercialisent au niveau mondial et même au niveau du Sénégal qui, dans le même temps, malgré tous ses efforts perd 15 milliards sur ses productions. Cette situation a donc une répercussion évidente sur les questions commerciales.
Tenant compte aussi du niveau de technicité que chacune de nos délégations a souligné et vu la nécessité de formation et d'aide à accorder pour permettre aux pays en développement d'avoir des cadres appropriés dans ce domaine, je crois que le Conseil devrait porter son attention sur le paragraphe 65 et souligner qu'il s'agit d'apporter une aide efficace, ce qui ne diminue en rien les capacités de la FAO au niveau de l'OMS, laquelle supervise fondamentalement le Codex Alimentarius.
Donc, le Conseil devrait être un peu plus attentif au principe qui est souligné lorsqu'il s'agira des questions de technique. En ce moment, le Comité des produits de la FAO, en conjugaison avec les organes spécialisés du GATT, pourra voir de façon globale comment il faut envisager certaines normes qui ont des répercussions sur des produits spécifiques aux pays en voie de développement. De toute façon, ce dont il s'agit ici c'est d'accepter dès maintenant le principe. Au niveau des discussions techniques, nous verrons les approches nécessaires à faire, tout en tenant compte des intérêts des deux parties afin de réenvisager ces questions de normes qui sont des problèmes vraiment importants pour les pays en développement.
Concernant le paragraphe 79, je ne me rallierai qu'à la déclaration du représentant des Philippines qui a souligné les questions de prix, de marchés et aussi l'ouverture des marchés mondiaux, ainsi que de tous les autres problèmes connexes.
Je voudrais aussi souligner particulièrement au paragraphe 77, qui a trait aux négociations en cours au sein de la CNUCED sur les produits de base, le rôle important que la FAO devrait jouer à ce niveau, notamment en ce qui concerne la recherche, le développement, les techniques de production, les moyens de réduire les coûts, l'amélioration des structures de traitement et de commercialisation, les informations de base, etc. Je crois que là aussi le Conseil devrait appuyer la FAO dans l'effort qu'elle entreprend afin d'aider la CNUCED au niveau des négociations en cours sur les produits de base.
Le paragraphe 78 met l'accent sur la coopération entre les pays en voie de développement. Je pense que là aussi nous ne pourrons que nous rallier aux recommandations faites par la Conférence de Mexico et reprendre les recommandations faites par la Conférence des pays non alignés qui ont souligné l'aspect particulier de cette question.
Pour la FAO, et dans le cadre justement de cette coopération inter-pays en développement, nous souhaitons vivement que la FAO ait des rapports beaucoup plus restreints avec les banques régionales, et pour ce qui est des pays africains, nous souhaitons vivement que la FAO consolide sur le terrain même ses rapports de travail, d'étude et d'évaluation des projets avec la Banque de développement africaine.
Ceci dit, le groupe africain voudrait attirer l'attention du Conseil sur un projet de recommandation que nous aurons à soumettre et qui concerne justement les rapports entre la FAO et la BDA.
Sur le paragraphe 78 également, nous encourageons la FAO á continuer ses études sur les autres produits qui ne sont pas encore considérés dans le cadre de la CNUCED. Ceci a la lumière de la résolution 93 (IV) de Nairobi. Effectivement, il y a beaucoup de produits importants pour les pays en développement qui n'ont pas été retenus par la résolution 93 (IV) de Nairobi, notamment le riz, les cuirs et peaux, le tabac, les épices et les fruits; et, à cette occasion, justement, nous désirons que la FAO joue un rôle assez important en nous produisant des études assez amples et très détaillées sur les conférences ad hoc qui doivent se tenir dans le courant des années 1978/1979 sur les cuirs et peaux et surtout sur les produits synthétiques et la répercussion des produits synthétiques sur les produits naturels.
Je voudrais donc lancer un appel au Comité, concernant principalement le Codex alimentarius, pour que, en ce qui concerne les propositions du groupe des 77, on se fonde surtout sur l'esprit de ces propositions et que le Conseil veuille recommander la participation de la FAO et de son comité aux travaux de ce Codex. Je suis certain que le Comité voudra ne pas interpréter de façon arbitraire la déclaration du distingué représentant du Gabon car il n'a abordé qu'une partie des questions qui concernent le Codex, à savoir les questions techniques qui sont réelles, mais aussi une certaine volonté et des méthodes qu'il faut remettre en cause et envisager de façon plus constructive pour les pays en développement .
D.J. WALTON (Officer-in-Charge, Economie and Social Policy Department): The delegate of Mexico asked for information about the outcome of the recently concluded Conference on International Economic Cooperation, also known as the Paris Conference, or the North-South Dialogue. At the conclusion of the recent meeting, a communique was issued which listed areas of agreement and areas of disagreement. The subject matter is divided into four groups corresponding to the four commissions of the Conference itself. The FAO was accredited as an observer in two of these commissions: those for raw materials and for development. Under the subject matter covered by these two commissions agreement was reached on the following points. On raw materials and trade:
1. Establishment of a common fund with purposes, objectives and other constituent elements to be further negotiated in UNCTAD.
2. Research and development and some other measures for natural products competing with synthetics.
3. Measures for international cooperation in the field of marketing and distribution of raw materials.
4. Measures to assist importing developing countries to develop and diversify their indigenous natural resources.
5. Agreement for improving generalized system of preferences schemes, identification of areas for special and more favourable treatment for developing countries in the multilateral trade negotiations) and certain other trade questions.
Now I come to development, and here I shall read out the points which are of direct or indirect concern to FAO only:
1. Volume and quality of official development assistance.
2. Provision by developed countries of one billion dollars in a special action programme for individual low-income countries facing general problems of transfer of resources.
3. Food and agriculture.
4. Assistance to infrastructure development in developing countries with particular reference to Africa.
Later in the communique there is a corresponding list of subjects on which agreement was not reached. Here, I think it would take up too much of the Council's time if I were to read out the points, but I would like to read out integrally the following paragraph:
"The members of the Conference agreed to transmit the results of the Conference to the United Nations General Assembly at its resumed 31st Session and to all other relevant international bodies for their consideration and appropriate action. They further agreed to recommend that intensive consideration of outstanding problems be continued within the United Nations system and other existing appropriate bodies.''
The report of the Conference will therefore be officially transmitted to the United Nations and, presumably, also to FAO. Until that has been done, we are in considerable difficulties because we simply do not have the definitive, authoratitive text of the report covering those points on which agreement was reached or not reached. On food and agriculture, for instance, the text in our possession might be described as a semi-final text. It contains phrases'such as "the development commission recommends that". The final text which will be transmitted to us has, as far as we know, not yet been put together and issued.
Therefore we do not see how we can reproduce for the records of the Council what is not the official report of the Paris Conference. On food and agriculture, however, the text which we have covers the following points, and I can read them quite rapidly: food production; assistance to agriculture; the International Fund for Agricultural Development; fertilizers; pesticides; seeds; world food security, including the negotiation of a new International Grains Agreement; and food aid. By and large, the text corresponds rather closely to the similar texts which have been negotiated, for instance, in our own Committee on World Food Security and also in the recent preparatory meeting of the World Food Council. I think I can safely say there is no major surprise, no new element that fundamentally affects international negotiations on food and agriculture in the text as we have it at the moment, but I must really report that at this stage we are in the embarrassing position of not having a complete text, an official text, which we can make available to the Council.
EL PRESIDENTE: Gracias, Sr. Walton. Creo que el Consejo tomó nota de la información que Vd. ha suministrado a petición de la Delegación de Mexico.
G.O. KERMODE (Officer-in-Charge, Food Policy and Nutrition Division): I would just like to refer to the discussion which has taken place on the food standards issue. The discussion itself illustrates the complexity of the subject matter of food standards and one can appreciate that in any compromise agreement on a standard there may be countries - developed or developing - that have serious concern about the possible impact of such a standard on their international trade. The Codex Commission spent a great deal of time in its earlier years developing procedures to try and safeguard the interests of all its member countries. It does seem, in the light of the discussion, that there is reason to look into this matter. If I may refer to the last statement made by the delegate of Brazil, that the Executive Committee and the Codex Commission be asked to examine these matters and consider the report of this Council Session. If the Council is in agreement, I would like to say that I believe members of the Executive Committee should have copies of the Verbatim Report so that they can have a full appreciation of the issues discussed. The Codex Commission would be asked to report to the Director-General so that at an appropriate opportunity these matters could be placed before the Council again. I believe that the issue which has been raised is in the interests of all member countries of the Commission. A number of delegates have referred to constitutional and procedural matters. It is correct that there are some members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission who are not members of the FAO. As the delegate of Brazil has proposed, it might be appropriate that the Commission itself examine these matters in full and report to the Di rector-Gene ral for action he considers appropriate vis-à-vis the Council. The Secretariat of the Commission would be most pleased indeed to take on this assignment, if it be the wish of the Council•
S.S. MAHDI (India): I do not know what your summary of our discussions would be, Mr. Chairman, nor do I wish to anticipate it; but if it is finally decided to refer the discussions in the Council for the consideration of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, I should like to add that the specific proposal that has been made by this delegation and seems to have support not only from a number of developing countries but, according to my interpretation, has some support from at least one developed country, should also be referred as a proposal and not as a part of the Verbatim Record. This proposal is not an alternative proposal but a supplement to what has been said by other delegations. In the meantime it will be worth while to examine the feasibility of the proposal because personally I am not convinced that half the FAO's staff will have to be engaged for making pre-trade impact statements. I think such observations do not reflect well on the excellence and competence of the members of the Secretariat.
I. OROZCO (México): Sr. Presidente, quiero agradecer por su conducto al Sr. Walton la información que solicitábamos. En realidad, confirma lo que conocíamos por la prensa y el mismo ha visto las dificultades en presentar al Consejo algo más formal. De lo que ha dicho se desprende que ésto constituiría un tema del programa para el proximo período de sesiones del Consejo; no quiero hablar prejuzgando sobre la forma en que el Consejo podría decidir, pero también sería una cuestión que la Conferencia de la FAO debería examinar, por el mandato que se implica a los Organismos especializados acerca de las materias de que son competentes.
EL PRESIDENTE: Creo que sobre este tema podríamos decir que el Consejo apoyó la alta prioridad que el Director General ha concedido en el programa de labores de la Organización a los aspectos relacionados con los productos básicos y el comercio.
El Consejo apoyó una vez más la necesaria cooperación de la FAO con la UNCTAD y los otros Organismos que concurren en el estudio y la solución de esos problemas.
Creo que también podríamos incluir en nuestro informe algunas referencias sobre las fluctuaciones de los precios en el comercio internacional, el deterioro de ese comercio en desventaja de los países en desarrollo, particularmente por la disminución de los ingresos de sus exportaciones, relacionado todo ello en cierta medida, como lo dijeron algunas delegaciones, con las actuales políticas vigentes.
Igualmente podríamos hacer referencia a las observaciones que se plantearon sobre las labores y los cometidos de los grupos intergubernamentales que funcionan en el seno de nuestra Organización como órganos del CPPB.
Sobre la propuesta del Grupo de los 77, que consiste en que, vistas las importantes consecuencias comerciales de las normas alimentarias estipuladas en el Codex, sería útil y necesario que el Comité ayudase al Codex a establecer prácticas comerciales justas, como preveían sus estatutos.
Como todos Vds. lo han presenciado, tuvo lugar una discusión intensa controvertida; se expresaron opiniones muy diversas. Creo que basadas en las últimas declaraciones que oímos podríamos incluir en nuestro informe, repito, para la tranquilidad de nuestro colega de India, algunas de las posiciones que se expresaron y que contaron con apoyo, como fué concretamente la del colega de India, que, si bien entiendo, consiste en que al adoptarse toda norma del Codex debería tenerse en cuenta sus repercusiones sobre el comercio.
Naturalmente, se incluirán también en nuestro informe, repito, algunas opiniones que se manifestaron en relación con puntos de vista diferentes respecto a las posiciones mayoritarias.
El informe de nuestro Consejo, así como las actas taquigráficas se enviarán, entonces, a los órganos rectores, a la Comisión del Codex Alimentarius y conoceríamos la reacción de esa Comisión, la opinión del Director General y decidiríamos la acción ulterior que nuestro Consejo debería tomar en esta materia.
Sobre el Reajuste Agrícola Internacional hubo pocos comentarios. Sin embargo creo que podrían incluirse algunas de las ideas que fueron expresadas, pero concretamente deberíamos decir que el Consejo tomó nota de lo que se dice en el párrafo 150 del informe del Comité de Agricultura, en espera de que se presente el informe a la Conferencia próxima.
Sobre la posibilidad de que el Comité tenga una reunión en otoño próximo, creo que no hay duda de que el Consejo acogió la propuesta del señor Embajador Magombe, Presidente del CPPB, en el sentido de que esa reunión se considera innecesaria. Solo me resta asociar a todo el Consejo al reconocimiento que se ha hecho a usted señor Embajador Magombe, Presidente del CPPB, por la forma inteligente y eficaz como presidió ese importante organismo, actitud que ha sido complementada por la manera concreta y constructs va como hizo usted su presentación, lo cual podría ser un buen ejemplo para el futuro.
A. A. W. LANDYMORE (United Kingdom): Thank you for your summing up. As usual I found it was well bal anced. There is only one point on which 1 would like to have clarity. I have no objection to the pro posal of the delegate of India going forward to the Codex Commission as has been proposed but I take it that it will not go forward as having been endorsed by the whole Council because I made my own reserva tions on that proposal, some other speakers did, and I would hope that it is your interpretation that that proposal will not go forward as having been endorsed by the whole Council, I would also hope perhaps, that our report might also draw attention to the fact that my delegation did make an al ternative proposal and that is, that in the light of experience, the CCP might examine individual cases.
B, de AZEVEDO BRITO (Brazil): As usual your summing up was very good and in the case of the specific reference to the Codex I would not dispute the essence of your summing up. In fact I propose that the whole matter be transferred and brought to the attention first of the Executive Committee, which meets on the 12th of July in Geneva, if my memory is correct, and then the next session of the Codex Alimen- tarius Commission itself.
However, it is not Ottly a question of transmitting. I want this Council to indicate also its wish to be informed of the deliberations and any action taken on proposals. All proposals made here and all points of view should be brought to the attention of the Codex with the indication that we want to be informed of the action taken, of the eventual proposals, and given an indication of action to be taken in FAO bodies. It is not just a question of transmitting the proposals.
J. C. VIGNAUD (Argentina): Las características coyunturales de los mercados internacionales de productos básicos señaladas por la Conferencia en su 18° período de sesiones en cuanto a inestabilidad de precios e ingresos de exportaciones y el reducido incremento de los ingresos globales originado en el comercio de los mismos para los países en desarrollo se han agravado.
Después de los altos precios que excepcionalmente lograron los productos básicos a comienzos de la década del 70, que estimularon el desarrollo agropecuario e industrial, el consumo y programas ambiciosos de asistencia social en nuestros países, nos encontramos, a partir de 1974, nuevamente afectados por la tendencia hacia el deterioro de los términos del intercambio. Prueba de ello es la creciente reducción de la participación de los países en desarrollo no exportadores de petróleo, en las exportaciones mundiales, del 24,4 por ciento en 1950 al 10,5 por ciento en 1975, así como el significativo aumento del endeudamiento externo, la disminución de las reservas monetarias y la caída en los niveles de empleo consumo e ingreso por capita.
Particularmente grave es la situación en el área de los alimentos frente al importante aumento registrado en los países industrializados de su propia producción agrícola y del comercio de alimentos entre e-llos, a expensas de las exportaciones de los países en desarrollo y desplazándolos de sus mercados tradicionales.
Los países desarrollados, al incentivar su propia oferta de alimentos y materias primas agrícolas, dieron oportunidad a sus productores de aumentar el índice de capital y de tecnificación de sus explotaciones, en base a subvenciones que, sumadas al desarrollo de los productos sintéticos y sucedáneos, amenazan con agravar las tendencias distorsivas en la producción agrícola mundial.
La evolución reciente de los precios indica precios en alza en café, cacao, algodón, pieles y cueros, mientras continúan deprimidos los de las carnes, cereales y azúcar, entre otros, y acumulación de excedentes en productos lácteos y vino.
Frente a este panorama no podemos menos que concentrar nuestras esperanzas en que los acuerdos por productos logren una efectiva regulación del mercado asegurando la expansión de la producción en los países en desarrollo y precios justos y remuneradores para los exportadores, siguiendo el camino de los convenios del café, el cacao, mientras se concretan soluciones globales para el comercio de los productos básicos en general, en el marco del Programa Integrado de la UNCTAD.
Al respecto, es preciso señalar la necesidad de preservar la competencia originaria de los distintos fo ros y evitar las duplicaciones entre las actividades de los mismos,
Sin perjuicio de ello, reiteramos nuestro reconocimiento a la labor de la FAO en la recopilación de un importante universo de datos e informaciones que se ofrece alos gobiernos como herramientas sumamente titiles para la planificación de sus políticas agrícolas y nutricionales y a los organismos de negociación para completar su propio enfoque con elementos ilustrativos de la producción agrícola y la demanda mundial de alimentos.
Nos interesa particularmente la continuación de esta labor en el Grupo Intergubernamental de la Carne, aumentando su eficacia como foro para el debate de opciones normativas y medidas de cooperación en los problemas que afectan al comercio internacional de la carne.
En cuanto a la labor de los otros Comités de Productos Básicos apoyamos su acción en cereales, bananas y té en relación con la elaboración y recopilación de datos que facilitan la estructuración de acuerdos o estrategias internacionales, propiciando la ordenada expansión de los sectores. 1/
EL PRESIDENTE: Si no hay ninguna otra opinión por parte de los miembros del Consejo después de las dos últimas declaraciones que acabamos de oír y creo que yo no debo agregar nada más a mi resumen, pues al repasar fugazmente mi memoria estoy en condiciones de pensar que las dos exposiciones últimamente expre sadas están contenidas en lo que yo quise decir cuando presente el resumen.
Mañana por la mañana reanudaremos nuestros trabajos. Les ruego tomen nota de cuál será el programa. Em pezareroos en primer lugar con el tema 14(b) para atender la solicitud de aquellos delegados que deben viajar a Ginebra a atender la reunión del PNUD; si en el curso de la mañana terminásemos el 14(b) seguiríamos con el tema 10. Si no fuere así, de todas maneras en la tarde de mañana iniciaremos la discu sión del tema 16, o sea el resumen del programa de labores y presupuesto.
The meeting rose at 17,55 hours.
La seance est levée á 17 h 55
Se levanta la sesión a las 17.55 horas.
1/ Statement inserted in the verbatim records on request.
1/ Texte reçu avec demande d'insertion au procès-verbal
1/ Texto incluido en las actas a petición expresa.