Sommaire: Statement by EU Commissioner Fischer Boel, on Suspension of WTO Doha Negotiations (24 July 2006: Geneva)
Statement by Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, following the suspension of the WTO Doha Round negotiations, Geneva
I very much regret that we were unable to find consensus among the G6 on the Doha Round 'modalities'. I am normally a positive person. But we must be under no illusion that this break down can be painted in rosy colours. The European Union wanted a positive outcome. I am a staunch supporter of the multilateral trading system. That is the only place to discipline trade distorting domestic farm support. I have always said that a balanced deal would be better than no deal - for everyone. A time out has been called in the talks. That does not mean they cannot pick up again in the future. But to be honest, I don't think this will happen very quickly. There is no new deadline. The EU came to Geneva prepared to do what you have to do in a negotiation. The main task was to explore others' flexibilities. We were prepared to walk the extra mile if a final deal was within reach. Unfortunately, the US preferred to stand still. We will now have to reflect on the consequences of this failure and explore the possible way forward. Our offer from last October remains on the table. Meanwhile, we will continue with our internal reform process - on wine, bananas and fruit and vegetables, the last sectors not yet covered by our CAP reforms. So today marks a big failure - whether it is a definitive failure only time will tell. There was no magic wand. Above all else, this is a missed opportunity for developing countries. They need the multi-lateral system to gain the full benefits from increased trade. We have already shown our willingness to help them. We are by far the biggest importer from the developing world and offer the Least Developed Countries complete duty and quota free access. We will continue to do all we can to assist our partners in the developing world.