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Doha Round Suspension a Great Pity

MEDIA RELEASE
25 July 2006


Doha Round Suspension a Great Pity

“It is a great pity to see the WTO Doha Round hit the skids”, Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden said today, in response to news of the suspension of the WTO Doha Round.

“I can only echo the words of WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy that today there are only losers”.

“Negotiations through the WTO are the only way we will ever see serious progress in opening up the world dairy industry, which is characterised by highly restrictive tariffs and quotas, and high prices for consumers.

“Without the Doha Round, there are few options for dealing with high tariffs, quotas and domestic subsidies in the EU, US, Japan and Canada in particular”.

Japan has a 360% tariff on butter; all Canada’s dairy tariffs are well in excess of 200%; while the EU which restricts cheese imports to less than 2% of European consumption.

He noted that Fonterra, with its worldwide network of business and multi-origin sourcing of dairy products, was better placed than most exporters to maximise benefits in a world of complex trade barriers and proliferating preferential trade agreements.

“But that sort of trading environment is not good news for all NZ producers.

We are particularly disappointed that the elimination of dairy export subsidies, which was agreed last December, has at best been pushed further out into the future, and at worst, is at risk of ever being achieved”.

He paid tribute to the efforts of Ministers Sutton and Goff and NZ officials in the negotiations.

He added: “This is a suspension not the end of the Round. New Zealand dairy farmers are used to playing the long game. We have seen failures like this before. We have to remain optimistic that we will see a successful completion of the Round in due course. “

ENDS

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