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Farmers Support Free Trade? Damn Right We Do!

16 March 2005

A campaign to drive overdue agricultural trade reform in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was launched today by National Farmers' Federation (NFF) President, Mr Peter Corish on behalf of the Cairns Group Farm Leaders.

"This year will be critical to the success of the entire Doha round of WTO negotiations and we all have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fundamentally improve the trading circumstances of millions of farmers around the world," Mr Corish said.

Kicking off the campaign at Parliament House in Canberra with the launch of a revitalised Cairns Group Farm Leaders website, Mr Corish said farmers recognised that they must act now to inject new momentum into the Doha round of WTO talks.

"Our campaign slogan – Farmers Support Free Trade? Damn Right We Do! – says it all," Mr Corish said.

"This campaign is about driving home the message that Cairns Group farmers will stand for nothing less than the fundamental reform of agricultural trading rules we were promised when the Doha round was launched in 2001.

"Cairns Group Farm Leaders from around the world are putting their full support behind Cairns Group country Ministers, demanding that agriculture be comprehensively dealt with in the Doha round currently underway."

The campaign was jointly launched by Federal Trade Minister, Mr Mark Vaile and Mr Corish, who Chairs the Cairns Group Farm Leaders. The launch was also attended by representatives of the Cairns Group diplomatic community and NFF's Policy Council.

The next meeting of Cairns Group Farm Leaders will be held in Cartagena, Colombia on 30 March to coincide with the 27th meeting of Cairns Group Ministers. The "Farmers Support Free Trade? Damn Right We Do" campaign will be launched to Cairns Group Ministers in Cartagena.

"Following the Columbia meetings, NFF Trade Committee Chairman, Allan Burgess and I will travel to Brazil and Argentina with Minister Vaile to reinforce the determination of Cairns Group farmers to achieve fundamental reform of world trade in agricultural products," Mr Corish said.

"These meetings are designed to inject new momentum into the WTO negotiations and NFF, along with our Cairns Group counterparts, are determined to secure meaningful reform to world agricultural trading rules for all farmers."

The Cairns Group is a coalition chaired by Australia of 17 countries committed to world agricultural trade reform. NFF supports the work of the Cairns Group through the Cairns Group Farm Leaders, a global coalition of farmers set up in 1998 by NFF.

Visit the Cairns Group Farmers website – - for up-to-date campaign information and news about progress in Cairns Group and WTO talks.

Contact: Mairi Barton, General Manager, Public Relations (NFF) – 02 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250

Next Media Releas:
31/3/2005 Farm Leaders Call On WTO To Deliver For Farmers

Previous Media Releas:
25/2/2004 Farmers deliver strong message to Cairns Group ministers