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AUS: Further reform of international agricultural


ABARE Media Release

30 September 1999

AUS: Further reform of international agricultural policies an imperative for the new millenium

'Further reform of international agricultural policies is critical for the long term benefit of Australian farmers', ABARE's Executive Director, Dr Brian Fisher, said today when releasing the research report Reforming world agricultural trade policies and the current issues paper Multilateral agricultural policy reform: an imperative for the new millennium.

'The previous round of negotiations set the framework for reducing distortions', Dr Fisher said. 'This round provides the opportunity for achieving substantial benefits ­ but only if effective reforms can be achieved.' 'Effective reforms require an orientation of production away from countries with high agricultural support toward countries with low support', Dr Fisher added.

The studies, produced with the financial assistance of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, highlight the need for further reform of world agricultural policies.

With agricultural support in developed northern hemisphere countries approaching the extreme levels reached before the Uruguay Round negotiations, further reform is required to capitalise on the legacy of those previous negotiations.

Means of achieving effective reform within the framework established under the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture include eliminating export subsidies, increasing market access opportunities and reducing the impact of domestic support arrangements on production and trade.

One of the reasons why agricultural support is again approaching pre Uruguay Round levels is that some domestic support measures have been exempted from the agreed reductions. Dr Fisher said that, 'to achieve the benefits from the existing framework, policies must be subject to reduction commitments. If policies are to be excluded, they must only be ones that have no, or at worst, a minor impact on production or trade'.

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