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New Zealand Leading Light In Trade Reform

11 June 2002

Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson is disappointed but not surprised that the latest OECD report Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries: Monitoring and Evaluation 2001 has found that there was only limited progress towards agricultural policy reform in 2001.

Alistair Polson and Federated Farmer's CEO Tony St Clair recently attended the Global Farm Subsidy Levels and U.S. Farm Bill Fallout Policy Forum in Washington DC hosted by the Cato Institute at which the report was released last Thursday. "This report shows that while overall support to agriculture has fallen slightly, support is still delivered in ways that disrupt market signals and hence distort production and trade. This is a significant impediment to the New Zealand economy," said Mr Polson.

"Despite this it was humbling to hear the Cato Institute describe New Zealand as a leading light in trade reform and a positive example of how well a nation's agricultural sector could perform without subsidies.

Support to agricultural producers accounted for 31% of total farm receipts in the OECD area, compared with 32% in 2000 and 38% in 1986-88. New Zealand agriculture support is 1 percent, which is largely research funding.

"New Zealand farmers look forward to the WTO Doha round providing the means to further reduce subsidy practices."


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