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Call For 2001 WTO Ministerial To Launch New Round

21 August 2000 PR97/2000


AUSTRALIAN & NEW ZEALAND FARMERS CALL FOR 2001 WTO MINISTERIAL TO LAUNCH NEW ROUND

At a joint meeting in Wellington today, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (FFNZ) and the National Farmers Federation (NFF) of Australia called on their governments to push the 2001 Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be the launch of a new round of global trade talks.

FFNZ president Alistair Polson and NFF president Ian Donges both strongly supported the call, saying that, "the 1999 Ministerial Conference in Seattle partly failed because of lack of preparation in Geneva."

"If the 2001 Ministerial Conference is to be used to launch a new round, the preparations in Geneva must get started," they said.

FFNZ and NFF believe it is important to raise confidence in the multilateral system by calling for another attempt to launch a new WTO round in 2001.

The farmers' call followed addresses by US Ambassador, Her Excellency Carol Moseley-Braun and NZ Minister of Agriculture & Trade Negotiations, Hon Jim Sutton.

In her address, Ambassador Moseley-Braun said that the US and the Cairns Group had a common interest in a liberal multilateral trading system.

In his address, Mr Sutton said "trade access is the biggest single problem in maximising returns for farmers."

Introducing labour and environmental matter into the round is just a cynical attempt by the world's rich to prevent developing countries increasing their wealth and the sustainability of their farming.

"The WTO is a trade treaty and should stick to the main game of freeing up trade," Mr Polson said.

"The proper place for labour issues is the International Labour Organisation, not the WTO," said Mr Donges.

ENDS For further comment: Alistair Polson 025-370-085 Ian Donges 0061-419-613-349 (NZ callers)

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