WTO mediators' proposals to save global trade deal
World Trade Organisation mediators made a bid to save global free trade talks on Tuesday by proposing compromises in key negotiating areas. Following are some of the main points made by the diplomats who chair the negotiations at the WTO on agricultural and industrial goods, and which will serve as a base for further negotiations:
- The United States would have to cut farm subsidies to between $13 billion and $16.4 billion a year. Its current limit is estimated at around $48 billion, and Washington has offered in the WTO negotiations a new cap of $17 billion.
- The European Union is asked to cut its highest tariffs on farm imports by 73 percent, more than the 60 percent it has offered so far in the negotiations
- The draft says between 4 and 6 percent of farm products in most developed countries can be classed "sensitive" and which can therefore be protected from the full impact of tariff cuts. The United States ans some poor countries had called for a 1 percent limit and the EU originally said it wanted 8 percent.
- The draft does not specify how many tariff lines developing countries can deem as "special" products which are protected from tariff cuts, instead suggesting guidelines. The United States has urged countries such as India not to protect large sectors of agriculture against farm imports.
- Developing countries would cut import tariffs on industrial goods, such as cars or chemicals, but not by as much as rich nations.
- A 19-23 range of coefficients for developing countries in a tariff-cutting formula is less demanding than a level of 15 sought by the EU and the United States . But it is deeper than a level of 30 proposed by Brazil and other countries.
- The proposal would leave developing countries with industrial goods import tariffs below 12 percent on average and only a handful would have them above 15 percent although the very poorest countries would have more protection.
- Rich countries would cut tariffs to below 3 percent on average with "peaks," or high tariffs for some individual products, under 10 percent.