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Cairns Group Farm Leaders call for action at MC11

9 October 2017

Farm Leaders from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Uruguay are calling on Cairns Group Ministers, meeting this week in Morocco, to reaffirm their commitment to a robust, rules-based global trading system with a level playing field for agricultural trade.

Cairns Group Farm Leaders chair and National Farmers Federation (Australia) President, Ms Fiona Simson is calling on Cairns Group governments to be ambitious and push for disciplines on domestic support as the next crucial step in liberalising agricultural trade.

"The past two meetings WTO Ministerial Conference meetings achieved significant reforms. In Bali in 2013, we saw the trade facilitation agreement negotiated, which has now come into force and agreement was reached about administration of tariff rate quotas. In Nairobi in 2015, we saw WTO members agree to phase out export subsidies. No doubt, these were great steps forward."

"Now in Buenos Aires in December, we need to build on that by putting greater disciplines on domestic support payments and a broader focus on export competition. At the same time, we need to keep momentum going and set out a longer-term pathway to greater market access for agricultural products."

"The Cairns Group Farm Leaders cannot and will not let pessimists and protectionists frame the debate. We remain committed to open and free trade and we are unashamedly optimistic. The benefits of specialisation and trade are well known - in this, the 200th anniversary of David Ricardo's elucidation of the concept of comparative advantage - it would be fitting tribute to make real headway at MC11."

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27/7/2018 Cairns Group Farm Leaders disappointed at new US agricultural subsidies

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11/11/2016 Cairns Group Farm Leaders call for major trade reform