Africa Cheers Brazilian Win Against US on Cotton Subsidies

    The Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, yesterday visited Gabon, where he met with the vice-Minister of Foreign Relations, Jean François Ndongon.

    They discussed the progress of cooperation projects approved during President Lula’s visit to the country in 2004.


    “We also talked about scholarships, Portuguese language instruction, and exchanges of diplomats,” Amorim commented.


    Today, in Kenya, the Minister participated in the closing ceremony of a meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO).


    Ministers representing 35 developing countries were present at the encounter in Mombassa, the country’s second largest city, after the capital, Nairobi.


    They insisted on deadlines for the definition of the mathematical formulas that will facilitate the exportation of agricultural and industrial products.


    The confirmation of Brazil’s victory in the WTO over American cotton subsidies was one of the most discussed and celebrated topics at the meeting.


    “We accompanied the whole dispute. We are very happy with the outcome,” said Benin’s ambassador to the organization, Samuel Amehou.


    According to Amehou, around 15 million people in Africa depend on cotton production.


    Chancellor Amorim hopes that the elimination of American subsidies goes into effect soon and that African countries that export cotton will also receive the benefits.


    The “mini-Ministerial” encounter, as it was called, was intended to emphasize the understandings initiated at the Doha Round, in Qatar, in 2002, in order to smooth out differences and foster consensual positions for the VI WTO Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Hong Kong in December.


    The principal themes were agriculture, market access, trade in services and trade protection rules, and sustained regional development, among others.


    According to Minister Amorim, relations between Brazil and Kenya have converged mainly around interests in international trade and the environment.


    Amorim’s visit is meant to reinforce the coordination that exists, through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding over Political Consultations, and to strengthen cooperation in the spheres of health, agriculture, and trade.


    From Kenya, the Brazilian Chancellor will proceed on March 8 to Ethiopia, where he will discuss ways to create closer ties between Brazil, the Mercosur and the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.


    On March 9 and 10, Minister Amorim will follow a schedule of official commitments in Mozambique. Then he will travel to Capetown, South Africa, where he will participate in the 2nd Meeting of the Mixed Trilateral Commission of the IBSA – India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue, on March 10 and 11.


    The agenda for the meeting includes strengthening cooperation among the three countries.


    Translation: David Silberstein
    Agência Brasil

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