Cairns Group Farm Leaders vow to force trade reform through WTO for liberalisation of world agricultural trade
31 March 1998
The farm leaders of 14 countries in the Cairns Group announced today that they would mount an international campaign to demand reform of farm trade through the World Trade Organisation's next round of trade talks in 1999.
Meeting in Sydney, the farm leaders said they would support all efforts by individual countries to eliminate all forms of trade distorting measures on food and other agricultural products.
The farm leaders have been visiting Australia, as the guests of the National Farmers' Federation, and will continue meeting during the Cairns Group Ministerial talks in Sydney later this week.
The Sydney talks are crucial in establishing a position for the Cairns Group in the WTO round of talks in Geneva next year.
A Joint Communique from the leaders today says that, despite the gains in the Uruguay Round, their members continue to suffer from heavy distortions in world trade.
The Communique says world subsidies amount to around US $280 billion a year. Total world farm trade is worth around $600 billion a year.
Announcing the Communique today, NFF President Donald McGauchie said the meeting of the Cairns Group farm leaders signalled to the world that the time for mere rhetoric about genuine liberalisation of world farm trade was over.
"It's time for action", Mr McGauchie said.
"Today, we issue a joint Communique to all the governments of the world, calling for an end to trade distorting measures in food and other agricultural products, and a strong request that our concerns be placed at the top of the priority list on the negotiating table when the next round of World Trade Organisation talks begin in Geneva next year", he said.
"Our members must compete not only with direct subsidies, but with non-tariff trade barriers such as the EU's ban on hormonal growth promotants, the use of export credit and the administration by some countries of their tariff rate quota commitments".
The Joint Communique will be communicated to the Cairns Group Ministers when they begin their meeting in Sydney on Thursday.
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24/11/1998 New web site to boost cairns group pressure on WTO for liberalisation of world agricultural trade
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31/3/1998 U.S. farm leader echoes Cairns Group concerns for liberalisation of world agricultural trade