need to consider the institutional structures and procedures which are likely

Need to consider the institutional structures and

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need to consider the institutional structures and procedures which are likely to enhance their performance in this regard in the future. The Seattle WTO meeting brought into the open conflicts about polices being pursued by the WTO. Sources of the conflicts expressed on this occasion are complex. Views expressed represented varying degrees of ‘self-seeking’ and ‘ideal-seeking’ behaviour. Conflicts were present both between interest groups in countries and between countries. In general, the higher income countries of the EU and Japan favoured more environmental concessions and a larger role in relation the environment for the WTO with the position of the USA being ambivalent. For example, the USA supported the G8 position in relation to the importance of the WTO taking greater account of environmental issues but on the other hand, as a member of the Cairns group, it also supported the position of this group opposing the linking of trade, environment and labour issues. The ambivalence of the US government, along with considerable conflict between interest groups in the US about this matter, may well have been a significant factor leading to the failure of the Seattle Round. Also, the supposed intransigence of the Cairns group was seen to be a contributor (Halle, 2000). The Cairns group’s opposition was based on the fear that environmental factors would be used as a reason for continuing substantial subsidies and economic support for agriculture in the EU and Japan. Many of the developing countries had similar fears. In particular, India opposed the inclusion of environmental norms and labour norms in revised policies of the WTO, mainly on the grounds of self-interest. A number of the views expressed by pressure groups and by less developed countries in relation to these issues are set out in Tisdell (2000b). Given, however, the strength of environmental concerns and political realities in the EU and Japan, it seems desirable to reach a compromise position which makes some progress towards achieving the goal of sustainable development. One needs to search for politically acceptable processes which will move nations closer to this goal. 16
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It needs, for example, to be recognized that not all subsidies for environmental protection are socially or economically unwarranted. In some cases also, such policies may actually reduce exports e.g. agricultural export, especially where income support switches from production subsidies to environmental subsidies. 2.4.2 Major issues A major issue as far as the Cairns group is concerned (and presumably many LDCs) is that environmental supports not be used as means to subsidise economic production. The matter is greatly complicated by the fact that environmental spillovers or externalities are difficult to measure and opinions about their non-market valuation can vary considerably between individuals and nations. Thus, for example, should a subsidy be provided to Japanese rice-farmers on the basis that their method of rice production is environmentally friendly and if so, what level of subsidy is justified? Or should farming be subsidised in
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