On the external front the political origin of this coalition can be traced back

On the external front the political origin of this

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On the external front, the political origin of this coalition can be traced back to the Brasilia Declaration signed between Brazil, India and South Africa in June 2003. According to the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the G20 ‘was not born in Cancún or in Geneva, during the weeks preceding the WTO Ministerial Conference. It emerged from the political trust built up between Brazil, India and South Africa some months earlier.’
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The creation of the new coalition also seems to be related to a growing feeling of disappointment with the Cairns Group and its positions on agricultural negotiations before Cancún. In the view of a private-sector representative, the WTO informal mini-ministerial, held in Egypt in July 2003, made it explicit that Australia was exerting the strongest leadership within the Cairns Group; however, it did not wish to adopt a more aggressive stance in the negotiations, favouring instead the EU- US bilateral understanding as a first step towards untying the agricultural knot in the multilateral negotiations. According to this private sector representative, ‘the G20 began to emerge in Egypt, when it became clear that Australia and the Cairns Group would not seek to counterbalance the EU and US common interests’. The timid reaction of the Cairns Group to the EU-US joint document on agriculture — issued some weeks before Cancún — strengthened the incentives, on the Brazilian side, to look for political alternatives to what was being perceived as a new Blair House Agreement, excluding the interests of developing countries. As a Brazilian diplomat put it, ‘Cairns was paralyzed and Brazil seized the opportunity created by this “leadership vacuum” to gather support to its paper in Geneva’. However, the document prepared by the public-private working group in Brasilia turned out to be very aggressive as far as market access demands were concerned. In the view of high-level officials, this stance could isolate Brazil in the negotiations, jeopardize efforts to build a coalition around the Brazilian paper, and compromise the objective — most valued by the Brasilia authorities — of attracting some of the most important developing countries to this new coalition. One of the consequences of this, according to a Brazilian diplomat, was that Brazil had to reduce its ambition in market access issues in order to gather the support of India and China for its demands against developed countries’ domestic and export subsidies. It had also to emphasize the idea of proportionality of concessions to be made during the negotiations: developing countries were supposed to pay less than the developed ones in the agricultural negotiations.( 1 ) The historical evolution of G20 also includes a period of intense activity in Geneva prior to Cancún. As a Brazilian diplomat puts it, the group met frequently at the level of heads of delegation in Geneva prior to Cancún. The group also met
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