PUTRAJAYA, Aug 25 (Bernama) -- Several hard issues need to be addressed inthe current negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if trade ofagricultural products is to be free from distortions and furtherliberalised.
"Given the status of the negotiations, the fifth WTO Ministerial Meetingto be held in Cancun, Mexico will focus on ways to facilitate and smoothenthe negotiation process by bridging gaps and concerns," said one of thespeakers at the MPOB International Palm Oil Congress which kicked offMonday.
Ooi Say Chuan, a senior director of Multilateral Trade Policy andNegotiations, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) notedthat the Uruguay Round had settled the easier problems in agriculture andmembers had taken very minimal committments.
Updating the status of WTO negotiations on agriculture, Ooi said membercountries have individually or jointly tabled more than 45 negotiatingproposals, which thus far, covered three pillars of reform - marketaccess, domestic support and export competition.
"Discussions among members to establish modalities for negotiations ison-going," he said in his paper titled "The Doha Round: Position onAgriculture with Special Reference to Oils and Fats Trade".
The current negotiating proposals would be seen as wide ranging with manyconflicting interests.
"The challenge now is to narrow these differences and to agree on a commonplatform to continue the reform process that would further open up marketsand reduce distortions in agricultural trade," he said.