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December 13th 18th 2005 marked the ministerial

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December 13th - 18th 2005 marked the ministerial meeting which  took place in Hong Kong. At this meeting representatives reached a  deal that sets a deadline for eliminating subsidies of agricultural  exports by 2013. July 2006 talks in Geneva once again set the DDA  off-track as negotiators failed to reach an agreement about reducing  farm subsidies and lowering import taxes. Negotiations were  suspended on the 24th July 2006. At a conference at Potsdam in  July 2007, a major impasse occurred between the US, the EU, India  and Brazil. The major disagreement was over opening up agricultural and industrial markets in various countries and also how to cut rich  nation farm subsidies. Of the twenty-one mandates adopted in the Ministerial Declaration  on 14 November 2001 at Doha, some have emerged as more  contentious than others and have turned into sticking points in the  negotiations, as evidenced in the ministerial meetings discussed  previously. These controversial issues are Agricultural Market  Access, Agricultural Subsidies, Industrial Market Access, Services  and Trade Facilitation. Agricultural negotiations are both the focal point and the stumbling  block of the Doha Development Agenda. The main objectives for  agriculture found in the DDA are for “substantial improvements in  market access, reduction of – with a view to phasing out – all forms  of export subsidies and substantial reductions in trade distorting  domestic support.” The Ministerial Declaration also stated that  special and differential treatment for developing countries would be  an integral part of negotiations and be embodied in schedules of  concessions and commitments.  Most countries accept that  agriculture has functions other than producing food and fiber – non- trade concerns such as food security and environmental protection,  and these would also be taken into account in negotiations. The  focus on agriculture was due to two major factors, that prior rounds  of multilateral negotiations had less impact on this area and that 
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agriculture was seen as an important subject for a development  round as many developing countries, especially the poorer  developing countries, are potentially more internationally competitive in agriculture than in manufactures or services, at least in the short  term. Agricultural subsidies are a major contentious issue of the DDA.  Although agriculture makes up only 8% of world trade, it represents  the main income source for about 2.5 billion people, mainly in  developing countries. Farmers from poor countries are unable to  compete with vastly subsidised exports from the EU, Japan and the  US. The principal impediment to more progress has been the 
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