The recent reform of the CAP will be of benefit to developing countries. Decoupled payments will replace production related supports, thereby reducing the potential distortion impact of production supports.
The Council of Agriculture Ministers is acutely aware of the needs of developing countries and of the implications for them of policy decisions taken at EU level. The EU has provided over many years for preferential access to EU markets for exports from developing countries through the ACP Association Agreement, the Generalised System of Preferences and other preferential trade agreements. More recently, the EU has offered duty-free and quota-free access to all imports except arms from the least developed countries. In the context of the current WTO round of trade negotiations, the EU has offered generous arrangements under the heading of special and differential treatment for developing countries.
While under the EU treaties the right to make proposals rests with the European Commission, I intend, as President of the Council, to hold a debate at the informal Ministers meeting in May on how the impact of CAP reform on international trade as well as opportunities arising from existing and future international arrangements can best be communicated to the EU's trading partners and developing countries in particular.