Blog: A deal in Nairobi is possible - but major players need to step up - Parlementaire monitor

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Blog: A deal in Nairobi is possible - but major players need to step up

Met dank overgenomen van A.C. (Cecilia) Malmström i, gepubliceerd op vrijdag 11 december 2015.

I am looking forward to going to Nairobi next week where the 10th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will take place. The EU is committed to multilateralism and although the Doha development round has stalled we are working to achieve a more limited set of Doha outcomes that would be particularly beneficial to developing countries.

At the previous ministerial conference in Bali 2013 an agreement on Trade Facilitation was reached, simplifying customs procedures to facilitate trade. This time, I hope that we can get a deal on export competition in agriculture which distorts agricultural markets and makes life difficult for farmers in developing countries that have to compete with subsidised foreign goods.

Together with Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay the EU has tabled a comprehensive proposal eliminating both direct and indirect export subsidies on agricultural products. The fact that the EU is working together with these countries is a sign that a consensus can be reached. In the Geneva negotiations leading up to the ministerial the EU has remained constructive and shown flexibility but some other big members of the WTO have so far not shown the flexibility needed to reach a deal, and we still don't have on the table draft compromise texts for ministers to consider.

I call on fellow trade ministers to look beyond political and historical grievances and work constructively towards a deal on export competition that will benefit all - not least developing economies dependent on agriculture - next week in Nairobi, which is the first ministerial conference to take place in Africa. We urgently need comprehensive texts on the table to serve as basis for negotiations and possible decisions by Ministers in Nairobi - on export competition but also on other issues important to the least developed countries such as services waiver and rules of origin. And we need everyone, and in particular all the major players, to engage in good faith. The EU is ready to contribute to a success next week, but we cannot make a deal happen on our own, without contributions from other major players.

If you want to know more you can see my recent op-ed in Politico here. Yesterday, I was in the European Parliament discussing the Nairobi ministerial, you can stream it here.