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Industry Deeply Disappointed by Doha Suspension

MEDIA RELEASE

25 July 2006

Dairy Industry Deeply Disappointed by Doha Suspension

The New Zealand dairy industry is deeply disappointed by the suspension of the WTO Doha Round, said DCANZ Chairman Earl Rattray.

“A successful conclusion to the Doha Round remains our top trade priority. It is the only route we have to achieving across the board liberalisation of trade in dairy products. That would give a huge boost to New Zealand’s dairy industry and to the broader New Zealand economy. Dairy provides more than 20% of New Zealand’s export receipts.

“We were greatly encouraged last year when, at the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting, WTO members agreed to eliminate export subsidies by 2013. We most definitely do not want to see that commitment fall off the table as a result of the suspension of the WTO talks”.

“DCANZ members also see big gains to be had from eliminating or significantly reducing the level of import tariffs paid when NZ dairy products enter other markets” said Mr Rattray.

He noted that, although a significant gap remains between the major players on the extent to which market access should be opened up and domestic farm payments reduced, the outlines of a deal were out there.

“I take a degree of comfort from reports that the main reason for the collapse of the Round at this point is that some parties, particularly the US, are simply not prepared to settle for a Doha-lite. To the extent that results in a more ambitious outcome than otherwise, we can remain optimistic for a final outcome.”

Mr Rattray noted that the process of reforming agricultural trade only began in 1995, when the WTO Uruguay Round brought agriculture under mainstream WTO rules. “The NZ dairy industry wants to see the WTO go much further down the road towards liberalisation that began more than 10 years ago. The sooner the round gets back on track the happier we will be”.

Mr Rattray expressed DCANZ’s gratitude to New Zealand Trade Ministers and officials for their dogged pursuit of a Doha Round outcome on behalf of the New Zealand agricultural sector and encouraged them to keep fighting the good fight.

ENDS

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