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EU Shift Good News Says Dcanz

EU Shift Good News Says Dcanz

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is giving a cautious welcome to an apparent shift in the European Union's negotiating position in the World Trade Organisation Doha Round.

In a letter to WTO trade ministers, Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler say the EU is ready to move on the elimination of all export subsidies in the upcoming Round provided there is an acceptable package agreed on market access and domestic support.

"On the face of it it amounts to a significant move forward by the EU," DCANZ Chairman Earl Rattray says.

"It is the most constructive word we have had from the EU on trade liberalisation for some time and could well provide just the sort of boost the Doha Round needs right now."

"The EU is in effect agreeing to eliminate all export subsidies by a specific date. Export subsidies are the most destructive form of agricultural subsidy. Eliminating them has been the No 1 priority for the New Zealand dairy industry since the Round began."

"Only three weeks ago the Global Dairy Alliance meeting in Buenos Aires, including representatives from DCANZ, called for export subsidy elimination and substantial market access improvement. These policy changes are critically important to unsubsidised dairy producers in developed and developing countries alike."

The EU move sets up a serious prospect of achieving a breakthrough framework agreement by July.

But Mr Rattray urged caution.

"This will also require agreement on market access, on which there remains considerable difference of views between the various camps.

"As usual in these sort of negotiations, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. There is plenty of detail yet to be worked through and there is a huge challenge facing the Round to get the framework together by July."

"But if the EU delivers on what it is saying, this could put the Round back on track after the breakdown at Cancun last year," he says.

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