Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Cairns Group United In Build-Up To Doha

The Cairns Group of agricultural trading nations has re-affirmed its unity of purpose in the build-up to a possible new world trade round, New Zealand trade minister Jim Sutton said today.

The Cairns Group, a group of mainly southern hemisphere agricultural exporting countries, finished a three-day meeting in Punta del Este, Uruguay today.

Mr Sutton said he was pleased New Zealand had been able to make a very effective contribution to the meeting.

'New Zealand has played a significant role in the 15-year history of the Cairns Group, and this continued at this week's meeting,' he said.

'Our voice has been heard clearly at Punta del Este, and there is a real resonance between New Zealand and other Cairns Group members' views about how to get a good result at the Doha meeting.

'New Zealand has been able to influence the result of this meeting. In international forums such as this one, we punch above our weight.'

Mr Sutton said the members of the Cairns Group were clearly aware that there were only 65 days till the World Trade Organisation meeting in Doha, Qatar, and they were very focused on the need to launch a round of world trade negotiations.

He said the Cairns Group communique, released today at the close of the meeting, was explicit about the need for further agricultural reform.

'The time was well overdue to bring agriculture fully under the World Trade Organisation so that producers could compete fairly on the basis of their comparative advantage.'

Cairns Group ministers expressed concern that total Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development nations' support of agriculture was running at almost US$1 billion a day, and that protection provided by both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, including unjustified sanitary and phytosanitary (plant and animal health) measures, remained very high.

The ministers emphasised their concern over the loss of momentum in the reform process and reaffirmed the Cairns Group's commitment to establish a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system.

'The group is more united and determined than ever to push for agricultural reform.'

Mr Sutton said all New Zealanders could benefit from a new round.

'Recent reports suggest that trade barriers, particularly on our food products, cost us $1 billion a year. We have a lot to gain from global agricultural reform.'

Mr Sutton said that, as well as freeing the world trading system of distortions, continued agricultural reform would significantly help developing nations.

'Many of the developing nations at this Cairns Group meeting spoke of their anger at how trade barriers prevent their products being sold in the world's richest markets and how, at the same time, export subsidies for farmers in the world's richest countries meant that surpluses from those countries sold in developing nations' markets destroyed the value of the local produce.

'For New Zealand, those same export subsidies harm the competitiveness of our agricultural products in third markets.'

Mr Sutton said there was a lot of work to be done from now till the Doha meeting, and New Zealand would be fully involved in that work.

He said the attendance of the United States agriculture secretary Ann Veneman and trade representative Robert Zoellick at the Punta del Este meeting was useful for the Cairns Group.

'The United States is the largest agricultural exporting nation in the world, and the United States administration sees itself as a natural partner for the Cairns Group in achieving agricultural reform in a potential new world trade round.'

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Tax Working Group’s Road Map

Trying to analyse the interim report on the Tax Working Group (TWG) is like trying to review an entire All Blacks game, but at the half- time mark.

With so much still to be finalised, Sir Michael Cullen and his colleagues are going to need all the All Blacks’ fabled finishing skills to get a coherent, fiscally neutral package together by the February 2019 deadline. More>>

 

Meth Testing Report: Housing NZ "To Right Wrong"

Phil Twyford “Housing NZ acknowledges that around 800 tenants suffered by either losing their tenancies, losing their possessions, being suspended from the public housing waiting list, negative effects on their credit ratings or, in the worst cases, being made homeless.” More>>

ALSO:

No Reshuffle: Meka Whaitiri Removed As A Minister

Meka Whaitiri will be removed as a Minister with immediate effect... The decision was made after receiving a report into an incident that occurred on 27 August in Gisborne, involving Meka Whaitiri and one of her staff. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity Bill: Making History For Women’s Pay

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill, introduced to the House today, will make it easier for workers to make a pay equity claim , using a more simple and accessible process within New Zealand’s existing bargaining framework. More>>

ALSO:

Suffrage 125: NZ A Trailblazer For Women

“We acknowledge the work of Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, and all of the suffragists who tirelessly campaigned for the vote… Today we also need to ask each other: how we can continue to make our country a fairer and better place to continue the legacy of the suffragists.” More>>

ALSO:

Asylum: Refugee Quota Increasing To 1500

“The quota increase will take place from July 2020. In the meantime, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services. We need to make sure we’re prepared for this change in policy.” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels