South Africa: Minister Thoko Didiza Attends World Trade Organisation 12th Ministerial Conference On Agricultural Negotiation in Geneva, Switzerland, 12-16 Jun

Minister Didiza to attend the World Trade Organisation 12th Ministerial Conference on Agricultural Negotiation in Geneva, Switzerland from the 12th to the 16th June 2022

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms. Thoko Didiza, MP will from the 12th to the 16th of June 2022 attend the World Trade Organisation Ministerial conference on agricultural negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland.

The last major decision related to the agricultural negotiations was at the Nairobi Ministerial Conference of the WTO in December 2015 with the elimination of export subsidies. At the Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017, no joint declaration or work program could be agreed by the WTO membership.

To date, progress has been limited with members mainly repeating known positions. The divide remains largely between developed and developing members. In addition, there are huge differences between the USA and China and India.

South Africa’s priority in the agricultural negotiations is to achieve a substantial and real reduction of trade distorting domestic support and to ensure sufficient policy space to carry out developmental policies that seeks to address poverty, inequality and low economic growth.

For South Africa, the negotiations need to follow a certain sequence with domestic support as a priority. Market access negotiations can only start once substantial progress has been made with domestic support. This is to ensure historical imbalances are addressed and the playing field is leveled before engaging in further market openings.

Approximately 70% of South Africa’s agricultural exports are already duty free incorporating the SADC Trade Protocol, the EPA agreement with the EU, AGOA with the USA and including the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (this agreement is not yet implemented). South Africa’s major challenges regarding market access are in the SPS field and those are not negotiated with the Agreement on Agriculture.

South Africa conducts the negotiations as part of various groups to enhance and strengthen its own positions. These groups of relevance are the Africa Group, the African Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) and to a lesser extend as part of the Cairns Group.

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