Brazil Doha Proposal Designed To Extract U.S. Agriculture Concessions

(Via Inside US Trade)

Brazilian officials this week floated an informal proposal that essentially demands that the United States and others that are seeking to make further market access gains in industrial goods in the Doha round must offer compensation in the form of increased market access for Brazilian agricultural exports, sources said.

The proposal, floated this week in a small-group meeting among key senior officials and ambassadors, seeks to mirror demands in non-agricultural market access (NAMA), where the U.S. and others are pressing Brazil to participate in sectoral tariff-cutting initiatives, which imply deep cuts in particular industrial goods sectors.

While Brazil has long demanded that the U.S. and others pushing for such greater market access for industrial goods must provide compensation in return, the new proposal makes that concrete and reflects the new emphasis Brazil is putting on agricultural market access as the necessary compensation (Inside U.S. Trade, Feb. 4).

Industrial goods included in NAMA sectoral initiatives would face steeper tariff cuts than the NAMA tariff-cutting general formula would imply. Similarly, Brazil is now suggesting that the U.S. and others should provide increased market access for Brazilian agricultural export priorities like beef, pork, and poultry, sources said.

This week, Brazil did not provide a lot of clarity on the details of its proposal. It will not do so until the proponents of NAMA sectoral initiatives provide more clarity on their exact demands, one source said.

The U.S., Japan, and other sectoral proponents are now supporting a “product basket” approach for sectorals, under which tariff lines in an individual sectoral could be grouped into different “baskets,” each of which would imply a different level of tariff cut. In that way, not all tariffs would face the steepest cuts.

However, negotiators have not yet worked out many of the key details regarding this product basket approach, such as the precise treatment for the different baskets.

Brazil floated this new idea within the context of a meeting of the so-called G11 group, which brings together ambassadors and senior officials from key countries, including the U.S., Brazil, India, China, Australia, Japan and the European Union, sources said.

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