National Farmers' Federation

Window Closing on Global Trade Reform

National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President Peter Corish – in Washington lobbying for urgent and significant agricultural trade reform in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – has enlisted the influential American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) to call for an ambitious outcome from the Doha round of WTO negotiations, particularly in the area of agricultural market access.
AFBF President Bob Stallman joined the NFF in issuing a joint statement asserting that an ambitious deal on agriculture must be agreed in the coming weeks (by the end of July at the latest), delivering significant new and improved access to markets. US and Australian farmers cannot be expected to support anything less.
Political circumstances in the US (with mid-term Congressional elections this November and the expiry of Trade Promotion Authority in 2007) dictate that if an outcome is not agreed by the end of July, it may be up to five years before a package delivering global trade reform to farmers can be agreed.
“In the US at present the opportunity for a positive, progressive outcome is within reach, but time is definitely not the friend of these negotiations,” Mr Corish said.
“We have a once in a generation opportunity to get this right and it is time for all WTO members to reinvigorate these negotiations in line with the Doha mandate agreed to by all Ministers in 2001.
“We should not kid ourselves, the July 2006 deadline is very real.”
The NFF welcomes and appreciates the continuing work of Prime Minister John Howard and Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile who are both currently taking Australia’s trade liberalisation agenda to the international community.
NFF President Peter Corish and NFF Trade Committee Chair Allan Burgess are currently in Washington meeting with a number of high-level Bush Administration Officials, key politicians and US industry groups. Mr Corish is available for media comment by contacting NFF’s Trade Policy Manager Scott Mitchell who is also in the US on: 0428 334 349.
For a copy of the joint statement please contact Brett Heffernan.

Add comment