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Farmers deliver strong message to Cairns Group ministers

25 February 2004

Farmers have called for strong leadership to break the impasse in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agricultural talks in a Communiqué presented to the Cairns Group Ministers in Costa Rica today by the National Farmers' Federation on behalf of Cairns Group Farm Leaders.

Presenting the Communiqué to the Ministers, NFF Trade Committee Chair, Mr Allan Burgess said: "Our message is that trade distortions in the agricultural trading environment are hurting our farmers, their families, rural communities and therefore our nations as a whole."

"The message is that this is unacceptable to us and the situation must be fixed," Mr Burgess said. "The millions of farmers we represent in our countries expect it to be fixed.

"In that regard, we believe that the Doha WTO Round is a key opportunity to make real progress."

Mr Burgess said farm leaders believed the Cairns Group had an extremely important role to play.

"We, as Cairns Group Group Farm Leaders, want to give our support to the activities of the Cairns Group both internationally and at home," Mr Burgess said.

"But to be able to do this we need a Cairns Group that is visionary, with strong leadership and a strategy to break the impasse in this Doha Round.

"We recognise that a new trade environment has emerged during and since Cancun. We believe the Cairns Group can be the bridge to the new groups and issues we face.

"And this is vitally important because the Doha Round has the potential to address many of the social issues faced by the world and to bring more peace and stability.

"The Cairns Group has a long history of proactive leadership and we would hope that after this meeting in Costa Rica there will be a clear commitment to the Cairns Group and a collective desire to deal with the many challenges that need resolution.

"We are expecting the Cairns Group to stand up and deliver," Mr Burgess concluded.

The Cairns Group Farm Leaders Communiqué

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14/9/2003 USA and Cairns Group Farmers call for a big result