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WTO Round Launch “Takes Us To The Starting Line”

Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd has welcomed the launch of a multilateral trade round by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) saying it can facilitate the reduction of poverty in the least-developed countries and deliver higher returns for New Zealand dairy farmers.

CEO Craig Norgate said the outcome from the WTO meeting “takes us to the starting line” towards these goals, particularly following the terrorist attacks in the United States.

“A reduction and eventual elimination of agricultural subsidies and protection in the developed world would open up wealthy markets to the least-developed countries, enabling them to establish sound agricultural industries, build their economies and take their people out of poverty,” he said.

“Trade builds bridges between people and therefore helps lay the foundation to secure lasting peace between nations.

“It is important the wealthier nations of the world use the round constructively to eliminate export subsidies, cut tariffs, expand quotas and reform domestic support to delink it from production.”

Mr Norgate said that getting international dairy markets on to a sound economic footing would also enable Fonterra to compete on a fairer basis in world markets.

“While US and EU producers would also benefit from agricultural reform because it would make them more efficient, we can be confident in our ability to compete with them and deliver returns back to New Zealand dairy farmers.”

Mr Norgate warned dairy farmers and New Zealanders not to expect overnight results.

“Trade reform is a long and tortuous process and we are only at the starting line. The Uruguay Round – and the path to this new round – showed us how long it can take to achieve reform. But we have at least reached that starting line and we must hope that the WTO members commit to making as speedy progress as possible to deliver the gains to the world. I want to congratulate Trade Minister Jim Sutton and his team for their part in helping get us to this point.”

END

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