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Brazil’s Lula to Colleagues: ‘Grab the Phone and Call US and EU Leaders’

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva appealed to other Mercosur leaders to press the rich nations to end their agricultural subsidies, financial or indirect assistance given to farmers.

According to Lula, this agricultural assistance from the rich countries harm the poorer countries, because they artificially enable European, US, and Japanese agricultural goods to compete with what is produced in developing countries.

"I think that each of the Mercosur presidents could grab the phone and call one of his counterparts in Europe and the United States, for us to begin to apply pressure, because, otherwise, all of us will spend 20 more years watching the poor get poorer and the rich get richer," he said, during his participation at the 29th Mercosur Summit meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Friday, December 9.

The end of agricultural subsidies will be one of the main topics on the agenda of the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), scheduled for December 13-18, in Hong Kong.

Last week, in telephone conversations with US president George W. Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair, the Brazilian president suggested a meeting among heads of State of rich and poor countries to find a way out of the negotiating impasse on this matter in the WTO.

In Lula’s opinion, the question should be discussed by the presidents of the countries, not their advisors. "This decision is so important that it shouldn’t be just another decision for our technical staffers or ministers to make. It should be handled by the presidents."

He went on to say: "It is not possible that in a decision of this magnitude, affecting the fates of millions and millions of human beings, many of them without any power to take part in multilateral organizations, most of all the WTO, they will not be dealt with through a humanitarian, solidary trade policy on the part of the rich countries vis-à-vis the emerging countries."

President Lula’s original idea was for the meeting to take place before the WTO ministerial meeting. Now the plan is for the heads of State to get together in January. The President said he intends to speak to the governments of Germany and France about the proposal too.

Agência Brasil

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  • Guest

    !!!!!!!
    The opposite is just as correct in industrial goods and services !

    But YOU dont want to open your doors to these products.

    As to agriculture, you are thinking only on your interests and those of a few countries. What about the poorest nations ?
    The EU is buying 70 % of all exports of the 50 least developing nations.

    And why is Lula only requesting to call the US and EU ? What about Japan, much more restrictive than the EU and the US.

    And just to refresh your memory, the EU is already by far your bi9gest buyer of agricultural goods.

    We need to defend opur farmers the same way as you wish to defend your industrail and services sectors.

    Nothing wrong.

    If you want more from us , you have also to give more.

    And finally you subsidize too, quite heavily, your agriculture with very cheap loans of 6 to 10 % when other industries and individuals must borrow at 40 to 150 % per year. You subsidize your exports just as we subsidize ours.

    You feel to have good reasons to do so and do not want to understand why we do the same as you.

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