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Brazil, United States might work together against EU farm subsidies

(Friday, Jan. 3, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Financial Times: Brazil and the United States might forge an alliance to fight against European farm subsidies, Agriculture Minister Roberto Rodrigues said here Thursday after meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick.

"Zoellick expressed the United States' concern over the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy, a concern we share," Rodrigues told reporters at the conclusion of the hour-long meeting.

According to the minister, the United States and Brazil - which is a member of the Cairns Group of the world's major agricultural exporters - could join forces in World Trade Organization (WTO) talks to combat European farm subsidies.

Zoellick, who returned to the United States on Thursday, represented President George W. Bush at the inauguration of leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as Brazil's new head of state.

Lula met last month with Bush in Washington for what was billed as a get-acquainted session.

Rodrigues said the U.S. trade representative had described Brazil as an important country that must not be left out of any WTO negotiations about agricultural trade.

The minister told Zoellick that Brazil would adhere to a firm position in the trade talks, demanding the dismantling of trade barriers by developed nations as a condition for any further concessions by poor countries.

In his inauguration speech on New Year's Day, Lula said that battling for an end to farm subsidies and trade barriers will be one of his administration's top priorities.