These ties and contacts produced some non negligible impacts on the dynamics of

These ties and contacts produced some non negligible

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These ties and contacts produced some non-negligible impacts on the dynamics of the agricultural negotiations at the Cancún Ministerial Conference: ‘At Cancún, the G20 maintained frequent dialogues with the Cairns Group and the African Group and the G20’s reaction to the Derbez text incorporates elements of the position of both groups. In the case of the African Group the issue of cotton was taken up by the G20 as part of its platform.’ III. Challenges and the outcome The first challenge: the establishment and the composition of the G20 The G20 was created in response to the EU-US text on agriculture. Why the focus on agriculture? The common position reached by the United States and the EU created the risk of reducing the scale of ambition set in Doha with consequences, in the light of the central role of agriculture in the Doha
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Development Agenda (DDA), for the whole of the Round. And why an alliance of developing countries? The US-EU common paper revived the North-South polarization in a crucial area of negotiation and generated concrete risks of marginalization for the interests of the developing countries in this central issue. The understanding between the two major trading partners had the potential to affect the ambitious targets set at Doha, especially as far as developing countries’ interests and development issues were concerned: ‘developing countries from both sets of interests came together when they realized that the EU and the United States had joined forces and come up with a text that was highly unsatisfactory’.( 2 ) Hence the first challenge faced by Brazil’s strategy was the setting up of an issue-based coalition composed exclusively of developing countries. On the one hand, southern coalitions — bloc-type coalitions — in trade negotiations were broad in scope but their effectiveness has proved very limited. On the other side, the most successful experience in the setting up of a North-South issue-based coalition — the Cairns Group — had, in the view of Brazilian diplomacy, run out of steam. As stressed by two analysts, ‘the coalitions of today, including the G20, having learnt from the failings of their predecessors, utilize some elements of both the bloc-type coalitions and issue-based alliances’. As emphasized by one of the leading official Brazilian negotiators, ‘the establishment of the group and its composition involved a political decision and sent a message to all participants in the Round, especially the developed countries, that there was a new factor to be taken into account in the negotiations. The creation of the group was a political statement.’( 3 ) According to a representative of the Brazilian private sector, the setting up of G20 ‘challenged not only the agricultural policies of the developed countries, but the legitimacy of the model adopted by those countries to negotiate in multilateral fora, presenting their agreed position as a fait accompli to developing countries’.
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