SEATTLE - At the occasion of the WTO Ministerial Meeting to start the "Millennium Round" negotiations, representatives from COPA-COGECA (European Union), JA Zenchu (Japan) and the NFU (USA) held a joint press conference in Seattle on November 30th.
Texas Farmers Union (TFU) President Wes Sims attended this press conference where all participants stressed that the multi-functional character of agriculture based on individually-run family farms is increasingly acknowledged throughout the world as being the model of agriculture that can best respond to the expectations and concerns both of society and farmers, and that the results of the "Millennium Round" negotiations shall enable this model to develop.
The COPA-COGECA representative stressed the fact that, particularly in Europe, the public is showing increasing concern about questions relating to food safety, product quality, environmental protection, and animal welfare, as well as the future of rural areas, and that these non-trade issues must be part and parcel of the negotiations, and appropriately dealt with.
The representatives from JA Zenchu stressed that a coexistence of the various types of agricultural models should be allowed so that the multi-fuctionality of agriculture is fulfilled in each country. The leaders also urged that a set of rules and disciplines that are genuinely fair and equitable for both food importing and exporting countries as well as for developed and developing countries should be established.
Sims stated that all the representatives of the American NFU stressed that the results of the WTO negotiations should include a recognition of the multi-functional character of agriculture and the benefits of family farms to societies across the world, with special and differential treatment for developing countries."
In addition, a seminar in which COPA-COPGECA, NFU, and JA Zenchu jointly participated also explored various aspects of multi-functionality in different countries. This seminar was held December 2 in the Sequoia Room of the Crown Plaza Hotel in Seattle.
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