Plant science technologies are essential for meeting the needs for food, feed and fibre of a growing world population in a sustainable way, and together CropLife Asia and CropLife International seek better global trading environments to improve farmers’ access to technologies that are vital for growing crops.
CropLife’s principal interests in global trade and the World Trade Organization (WTO) trade talks, which will facilitate economic development across the world, include:
- Facilitating trade through the coordination and harmonization of requirements and standards, and improving market access through the reduction of non-tariff barriers to trade
- Removing agricultural trade barriers, such as export subsidies and trade-distorting domestic subsidies
- Eliminating tariffs on crop protection products
- Securing WTO pre-eminence on trade rights during the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs)
The Doha Development Agenda’s goal is to reduce tariff and non-tariff trade barriers and improve rules affecting international trade in goods, services and intellectual property. These goals are important for the plant science industry and for the world’s farmers and all countries benefit from them; the main focus is on growth and increased prosperity in developing countries. However, despite years of negotiations since the initial 2001 Doha Declaration, WTO members have failed to achieve an agreement.
The plant science industry supports the complete elimination of tariffs on crop protection products, active ingredients and intermediates. Tariffs greatly raise the cost of crop protection products, restricting farmers’ access to the tools they need to deal with adverse effects caused by weeds, diseases and pests. This is of particular concern for farming economies in developing countries. The direct benefits of such duty-free treatment include the stimulation of economic growth in participating countries and the lowering of input costs for industry, allowing it to devote additional resources to stewardship activities and developing new products or reducing the prices of existing products. It will also promote international trade in crop protection products, without affecting provisions that may arise from international conventions and national legislation on health, safety or the environment.
CropLife firmly believes that the elimination of tariffs must not be offset by the imposition of new barriers to trade in any form. Hidden export subsidies, adulteration, counterfeiting and smuggling of crop protection products in some countries are major problems and need to be addressed under national and WTO rules. Additionally, CropLife does not endorse the re-negotiation of intellectual property rules under the WTO Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Agreement.
Moreover, CropLife supports efforts to eliminate export subsidies, and to reduce trade distorting domestic support and market access barriers in the agricultural sector. The move towards more efficient agricultural systems will naturally increase demand for products that reduce crop losses and maximize productivity, and will further contribute to making trade and sustainable development more compatible.