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Draft of proposed WTO agreement published

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton today released the draft text of the declaration that will be discussed at the World Trade Organisation's Ministerial meeting in Qatar in November.

The draft declaration aims to launch multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO.

Mr Sutton said the document would be the subject of extensive negotiations in the next six weeks and was likely to change significantly before the Qatar meeting.

"In the meantime, I am making the full text available to ensure interested parties in New Zealand are able to assess it for themselves."

The initial draft declaration is available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website (www.mfat.govt.nz).

Mr Sutton said he did not have a final view yet on whether the overall package will meet our requirements.

"A text has yet to emerge on agriculture. This is a significant omission for New Zealand. We are looking for an ambitious text on agriculture to help redress the many problems our exporters face in overseas markets."

WTO General Council chairman Stuart Harbinson released the draft declaration to members for their consideration on 26 September. It is the result of months of negotiations between WTO members in Geneva.

Mr Sutton encouraged interested parties to comment on the draft declaration directly to the Trade Negotiations Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Cabinet paper setting out New Zealand's initial position for the Doha meeting was made public on July 26.

ENDS

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