• Short Summary

    Crucial talks which could decide the future of the ten-year-old International Coffee Agreement opened in London on Monday (December 4).

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    Crucial talks which could decide the future of the ten-year-old International Coffee Agreement opened in London on Monday (December 4). Delegates of the International Coffee Organisation could not agree on world quotas and prices at the organisation's annual meeting in August.

    The discussions were to set quotas and prices for the remaining time of the current agreement which expires in September next year. Representatives of sixty-two countries, both producers and consumers, were represented at the London conference. Consumer countries in the organisation, led by the United States of America, had been urging that quotas be abandoned for the rest of the agreement period. Brazil, the world's largest coffee producer and leader of the producing countries, had called for the ???enewal of the existing quota arrangements.

    The consumer proposals are that any new agreement to operate after September next year should not necessarily have the present quota and control systems. The proposal is that any new agreement should have a stand-by arrangement in case prices fall to an extremely low level.

    SYNOPSIS: Delegates from coffee producing and consuming countries, began a crucial meeting in London on Monday, to discuss the future of coffee quotas and prices. The ten-year-old International Coffee Agreement could be changed radically, if consumer countries succeed in efforts to virtually abolish quotas. At the annual meeting in August, delegates could not agree on quotas and prices for the remainder of the current agreement, which is in force until September next year. Many coffee producers ignored quotas during much of this year.

    The producers at the conference wanted quotas retained along the same lines as at present. The essential features of the current system are production quotas and strict control of the coffee supply. The dispute between producers and consumers turned the London talks into a meeting which could effectively mean the end of the International Coffee Organisation. If the consumer moves are successful, the agreement would be practically replaced by a stand-by arrangement in case prices fall to a very low level.

    The talks followed a preliminary meeting in the Ivory Coast. At that meeting, the producers agreed on a common set of proposals to be put to the consumers at London. Agreement would mean strict control of supplies and probably higher prices.

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