EUROPE/WORLD: EU says it will match US farm subsidy offer
The EU has vowed that it will more than match a US offer to cut controversial agricultural subsidies and tariffs, according to the BBC.
US trade representative Rob Portman had said the US would cut farm subsidies by 60%.
EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson responded by saying that the EU "will match, and indeed go substantially beyond" that reduction, the broadcaster said. The WTO meeting in Zurich aims to bring about a trade treaty by year-end.
Europe's response came after the US said its offer was valid only if the EU and Japan also made large cuts in trade-distorting support for agriculture. "The US is willing to take some pain," said Portman. "But those who subsidise more need to reduce more."
As part of its plan, the US would cut key agricultural subsidies by 60% before 2010, with trade tariffs slashed by up to 90%.
Trade tariffs would eventually be phased out completely, except on a limited number of "sensitive" products.
The US said it was also willing to tighten up its regulation of export subsidies.
No details were made public about the European offer.
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