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Doha Agreement Welcomed

14 September 2001

National MP John Luxton welcomed today's WTO agreement to launch a new round of trade talks which will include negotiations on the export subsidies for agricultural products, he said from Doha today.

"It is a big step forward to have the phasing out of export subsidies for agriculture products firmly on the negotiating agenda," Mr Luxton, a member of the New Zealand negotiating team at the WTO meeting in Doha, said.

"There has long been a need to include Agriculture into the WTO rules and to reduce subsidies and tariffs that prevent fairer free trade and penalise consumers.

"The biggest beneficiaries of the agreement will be countries dependent on agriculture like New Zealand, and the least developed countries.

"The New Zealand negotiating team was aiming for an outcome that would begin to rectify the current injustices of the world trading rules which disadvantage New Zealand.

"It seemed to be 143 countries against the EU in negotiating the agreement. More specifically the upcoming Ireland and France elections made agreement very difficult and prevented a stronger worded text from being adopted.

"It still seems incredible that the EU should be so reluctant to commit to comprehensive negotiations in the agricultural sector, when it has been the major beneficiary of WTO rules for trade in goods other than agriculture.

"The agreement is positive for agriculture and New Zealand it also shows that the current Government was wrong to freeze the gradual removal of tariffs put in place by the previous Government," Mr Luxton said.


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