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'Don't give up on Doha' Meat & Wool NZ

Press Release 25.07.06

'Don't give up on Doha' – Meat & Wool New Zealand Reaction

Despite huge disappointment at the suspension of World Trade Organisation trade talks Meat & Wool New Zealand Chairman Jeff Grant says he is optimistic that they will eventually resume.

"We are not giving up and we are certainly not going to lessen the pressure to get a successful outcome from this Round. As efficient suppliers of beef, sheep meat and wool to the world, New Zealand farmers stand to gain substantially from liberalising trade and locking in important agricultural reforms."

Meat & Wool New Zealand Deputy Chairman, Mike Petersen, who attended the WTO Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong last December, says that improving market access for agricultural products, still the most highly protected area of trade in the world, was always going to be a substantial challenge.

"This is a major setback, but it's not the end of the story. The history of the WTO shows that success is still possible, even where negotiations have stalled for a significant period," he says.

While there will undoubtedly be attempts to lay the blame for this collapse with particular WTO Members, Mike Petersen says that Governments now need to focus on getting these talks back on track.

"The tireless efforts of New Zealand Ministers and officials to achieve an ambitious outcome throughout these negotiations should be applauded, and we will continue doing all we can to support those efforts." Mike Petersen did not consider bilateral and regional free trade agreements to be a substitute for WTO negotiations.

"While free trade agreements are definitely an important means of opening up markets, the WTO covers 150 countries and addresses the full range of issues that distort global trade, including domestic support and export subsidies .

"As a major agricultural exporter New Zealand is especially dependent on countries keeping to the agreed rules of global trade that the WTO represents. But it is deeply regrettable that WTO Members have been unable to reach agreement when so much is at stake," Mike Petersen says.


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