Harbinson Decides To Call It Quits

New Delhi, November 8 | Updated: Nov 9 2003, 05:30am hrs
Committee on agriculture chairman Stuart Harbinson has announced his intention to quit due to his inability to help WTO members reach a compromise in the area.

According to a WTO release, Mr Harbinson has stated that since members are entering a new phase in the agriculture negotiations, a new chairperson may be better able to bring the fresh perspective which is now required in the discussions. He, however, said he will continue to serve as the CoA chairman until a successor is selected.

One of the reasons behind the collapse of the Cancun summit was the failure of the US-EU combine and the G-20 to reach an agreement on the modalities of talks. While the G-20 was pressing for a sharp reduction in the US-EU farm subsidies, the US-EU combine was attempting to protect its subsidies while making the Third World lower its tariffs. Mr Harbinsons efforts to bridge the differences by suggesting two proposals were not successful.

I believe I did what I had to do as chairman over the past 18 months, given the mandate issued by ministers at the 2001 Doha ministerial conference. I have no regrets but it is now time for someone else to take up the banner, Mr Harbinson said.