§ Mr. Caborn
EU Agriculture Ministers have adopted unanimous conclusions on the position of agriculture in WTO negotiations. These recognise the importance of further agricultural trade liberalisation as a contribution to economic growth.
They also emphasise the multifunctional character of agriculture, including its role in preserving the rural environment and in contributing to the viability of rural areas.
The Government recognise that agricultural trade liberalisation can have both positive and negative environmental effects, and to produce an effective solution it must be accompanied by environmental policies which are targeted on the delivery of environmental objectives. So, in pressing for further reductions in production-related support, the Government have consistently emphasised the importance of accompanying, targeted measures to conserve and enhance the rural environment and promote the rural economy.
§ Mr. Caborn
Following the failure to launch a new round of trade talks at the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in Seattle in December 1999, it was agreed at the WTO General Council meeting on 7–8 February 2000 that the mandated negotiations on agriculture and services would take place in the Agriculture and Services Council respectively.
The UK's aims in the agriculture negotiations are to achieve further liberalisation of agricultural trade in line with our objectives for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to reduce the costs to consumers and 215W taxpayers; to encourage the development of a viable and sustainable farming industry which is capable of competing without ongoing production support; and to conserve and enhance the rural environment and promote the rural economy through targeted measures.
In the current negotiations on services, the UK seeks further progressive liberalisation in line with the objectives of the General Agreement on Trade in Services. The UK, as the world's second largest exporter of services, has a major export interest in opening services markets around the world. We also support services liberalisation for the benefits it can bring to developing countries. These are reflected in the negotiating guidelines recently agreed by WTO Members which also recognise the right of WTO Members to regulate for national policy objectives. As the Government have made clear before, we will not be making any commitments that would call into question the public provision of health and education services in the UK.
The UK and EU remain committed to the launch of a new round of trade negotiations with a broad, inclusive agenda. Our position is the same as set out ahead of Seattle in the General Affairs Council (GAC) Conclusions of 26 October 1999. The next WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Doha, Qatar from 9–13 November 2001 is seen as the earliest opportunity at which a new Round may be launched.