That is particularly relevant in view of the fact that the review of the Common Agricultural Policy is under way at present and there is a change in Commissioners as well. These are particular issues. However, at every opportunity we highlight the fact that we can only support a WTO deal that is ambitious, fair and balanced.
Less than two weeks ago I attended the OECD ministerial meeting on agriculture and food. While we were not discussing trade talks at that meeting, at any time in our various discussions on the future challenges in agriculture and food of climate change and food security when the issue of trade entered into the dialogue, the unanimity and similarity of views dissipated quickly. There are significant divergences. The OECD, as Deputy Sherlock would be aware, consists of approximately 40 countries — some members of the European Union, large member states outside it such the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile.
There is a divergence of views. In December last, Mr. Lamy, the Director-General of the WTO, was planning to hold a ministerial conference. That did not happen; there was a technical meeting. My understanding from the WTO, and from our regular questioning of this issue, is that there will be a meeting to assess the situation at the end of this month. By and large, that will be on technical measures, and at official, not ministerial, level.
Inevitably, there will be another world trade agreement. We do not know, however, whether it will be at the conclusion of this Doha round. There are substantially divergent views on the matter. The British Prime Minister, Mr. Brown, and others in the G8-G20 fora were putting out the message that with global economic turbulence, an international trade agreement would be a stimulus to economic development. A fair and balanced deal would help to create economic regeneration which we are all working towards. It cannot, however, be at the expense of the agrifood sector in the European Union.