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FFNZ concerned about WTO Meeting Outcome

6 November 2001

PR167/01


FFNZ concerned about WTO Meeting Outcome

Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson departs for World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar tomorrow with concerns about the possible outcomes for agriculture. Mr Polson is part of the farm leaders delegation from the Cairns Group.

"Discussions on agriculture have been underway since 2000 but this meeting positions agriculture within the broader negotiations, said Mr Polson. The agricultural text, which will be debated by 142 countries, definitely favours the highly subsidised farmers of the United States and the European Union.

"Differences between countries have narrowed, but Ministers still have a lot of work to do reach agreement. The concerns of developing countries are at the centre of all considerations. The difficulty will be to achieve an outcome that will not disenfranchise developing nations and slow trade liberalisation by allowing non trade concerns such as labour and environment issues to enter the WTO negotiations.

"The objective now must be to achieve at Doha a strong mandate that gives us confidence that the next round will deliver real and meaningful gains in agriculture for the small trading nations and the developing world," concluded Mr Polson.

ENDS

For more information: Alistair Polson (until 2:00pm Wed) 025 370 085 Susan Redward, PH 04 473 7269


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