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Victoria To Host United Nations Food Conference

JOINT STATEMENT

Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Judith Troeth

Victorian Minister for Industry, Mark Birrell

Victoria has scored a major coup by winning the right to host the United Nations conference on food standards and trade, the State's Industry Minister, Mark Birrell, and the Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Judith Troeth, announced today.

Mr Birrell said the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) conference, International Food Trade Beyond 2000: Science Based Decisions, Harmonisation, Equivalence and Mutual Recognition, would be held in Melbourne on October 11-15. It is the first time such a conference has been held outside Rome.

"Winning the right to host this conference is a coup for Victoria and Australia," he said.

"The conference is expected to attract about 300 expert delegates from 164 countries and they will all leave with a better understanding of the quality and potential of Australia’s multi-billion dollar agri-food industry.

"Victoria is an ideal location for a conference to discuss global food standards - we are a major source of high quality food products, producing the best of dairy, meat and cereal products, beverages, confectionery and processed food and vegetables.

"On top of that, our clean-green credentials are impeccable and our regulatory environment, where government has set up and enforces comprehensive food standards, is second to none."

Senator Troeth said Australia was a leader in food quality and safety technology, committed to improving the international trade environment and, as host country, would play a key role at the conference.

"Our message is simple: 'Safe Food, Essential to Export Success'. Australia's experience as a leading exporter proves that the best way to compete in an international market is to offer a clean, safe and sustainable product," Senator Troeth said.

"The international food community will find Victoria an excellent showcase for what's happening all around Australia.

"Australia is encouraging active participation from developing countries to increase their awareness of these important issues, and to help them meet international standards that improve their economies."
"Australia’s hosting of this Conference will highlight the importance of international standards in supporting the future growth of global food trade - an issue of crucial importance for Australia’s agricultural and food exporters.

"The Conference is also timely in that it will highlight the importance of trade issues as we head into new agriculture negotiations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at the end of this year."
Senator Troeth pointed out that "further liberalisation of food trade will be a critical part of these negotiations for Australia."

Jointly hosted by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments, the conference is being held by the FAO in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the WTO.

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