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Seafood Industry Disappointed at WTO Breakdown

Seafood Industry Disappointed at WTO Talks Breakdown
25 July 2006

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council shares the Government’s disappointment at the breakdown of the WTO Doha Development Round of trade negotiations.

“More than 90% of the New Zealand seafood sector’s earnings come from international trade – amounting to over NZ$1.3 billion in export sales. We estimate trade barriers cost the New Zealand industry at least $100 million annually,” said New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Chief Executive Owen Symmans. “Our industry has a considerable stake in achieving a positive outcome from these trade negotiations.”

Mr Symmans said that in addition to conventional trade barriers of tariffs and non-tariff measures, such as quotas, massive subsidisation of fishing industries in the northern hemisphere is distorting trade and contributing to unsustainable fishing capacity. “We are also becoming increasingly concerned at the way aquaculture is developing internationally with the assistance of subsidies,” he said.

“Minister Goff is correct when he says that only a global negotiation through the WTO has any chance of addressing these major distortions. We fear that this breakdown may stall the negotiations for a year or two. Meanwhile our competitors will continue to have carte blanche, distorting trade and subsidising global fisheries into collapse.”

ENDS

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