French President Jacques Chirac has proposed a temporary moratorium on European farm export subsidies toward Africa.
In a surprising speech at the end of the summit of African nations in Paris, President Jacques Chirac has urged rich countries to join France in a moratorium on farm export subsidies to African countries. France wants these subsidies to be suspended until the Doha trade round would be completed in 2005. The French President announced these ideas as part of a more ambitious plan for a new strategy for the development of African agriculture.
The French proposal is rather surprising as Paris has always led the opposition to reform the EU's Common Agriculture Policy. With the moratorium idea, France seems to have acknowledged that export subsidies are the cause of very significant problems for developing countries. Mr. Chirac's ideas are also likely to create extra tensions with the United States.