National Farmers' Federation

Ministers back farmers' call to restart WTO negotiations

The 20th Anniversary meeting of the Cairns Group concluded in Cairns today with the release of a strong communiqué which calls for a quick resumption in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Round negotiations.
“Cairns Group Ministers have picked up on all the points put to them by the Cairns Group Farm Leaders (CGFL) and demonstrated strong leadership on the critical issues of agricultural market access, domestic support and export competition,” David Crombie, President of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) said.
“Importantly, Cairns Group Ministers have underlined the need to build convergence on market access – the most important area of the negotiations for Australian farmers.
“Ministers also underlined the urgent need for a ‘transparent and objective market-based approach’ in regards to ‘Sensitive Products’ that will deliver substantial and meaningful improvements in market access.”
On the important issues of ‘Special Products’ and the ‘Special Safeguard Mechanism’, Ministers also demonstrated strong leadership in calling for greater definition on potential new rules.
“It is absolutely vital that we get rules in these areas right to ensure new commercial opportunities are created at the end of this Round,” Mr Crombie added.
“We are very encouraged by the Cairns Group Ministers ‘Work Program’ released today, to help get the negotiations moving again.
“It is particularly pleasing that Ministers have committed themselves to working with farm leaders to build support amongst farmers in other countries for a substantial outcome on agriculture.
“NFF now looks forward to working with Minister Vaile and his officials, particularly on the many technical issues that will need to be resolved, in the coming months towards re-starting and successfully concluding the negotiations.”

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