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South Africa To Attend WTO's Ministerial Conference on Agricultural Negotiation in Geneva

South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Angela Thokozile Didiza, will participate in the World Trade Organization 12th Ministerial Conference on Agricultural Negotiation, which is going to be held in Switzerland’s Geneva from 12 to 16 June, 2022.

The last time a major decision was made on the agricultural negotiations took place at the Nairobi Ministerial Conference of the WTO in December 2015 and accordingly export subsidies were ruled out.

In December 2017, the Ministerial Conference held in Buenos Aires saw no joint work plan agreed upon by the WTO members.

Progress has so far been held back as the members basically stick to known positions. The problem is that there’s still a division between developed and developing countries members. Moreover, noticeable differences are seen between China, India, and the United States.

When it comes to South Africa’s preferences in agricultural negotiations, the country aims to reduce Trade-Distorting Domestic Support and execute developmental policies to fight inequality, poverty, and low growth in its economy.

The negotiations on market access, for South Africa, should guarantee domestic support as a priority.

Almost a portion of 70% of the country’s exports on agriculture are 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”; the agreement has not yet been carried out. In terms of market access, South Africa mainly struggles with the SPS field, which is not negotiable under the Agreement on Agriculture.

To reinforce its positions, the country involves different parties: the Africa Group, the African Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) along with Cairns Group.

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By Saha on June 9, 2022

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