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


Cairns wants end to trade-distorting subsidies

Cairns Group calls for end to trade-distorting domestic subsidies

World Trade Organisation members should "just say no" to distorting farm subsidies, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton welcomed the ambitious proposal tabled by New Zealand and other Cairns Group colleagues in the WTO negotiations on agriculture during the weekend.

The Cairns Group has proposed that trade- and production-distorting support (the so-called "amber box" and "blue box") be reduced to zero over a five-year timeframe, with a fifty percent cut in the first year.

"Trade-distorting and production-distorting domestic support is the root cause of the problems in the world agricultural trading system. The Cairns Group proposal provides an excellent template for dealing with massive levels of government spending in the agriculture sector.

At present, the biggest users of amber and blue box policies are the developed economies. The European Union is entitled to provide over US$60 billion annually in trade-distorting support, while the US limit is US$19 billion and Japan's is over US$30 billion.

Mr Sutton said that in effect, the Uruguay Round Agriculture Agreement let rich countries off the hook.

"Farmers in those countries have the full force of their national treasuries behind them, while others ? like New Zealand ? are unsubsidised," he said.

"WTO Ministers agreed at Doha that we should negotiate substantial reductions in domestic support, consistent with our long-term objective of a more open and market-oriented trading system.

"That will benefit all members, especially developing countries. And for New Zealand farmers, the Cairns Group proposal would let them compete on a more equitable basis."

The Group has also proposed measures to ensure the integrity of the "green box" of non-trade distorting support, while still providing scope for members to meet their legitimate non-trade concerns such as the protection of the environment and rural development in developing countries.

The proposal on domestic support follows the earlier Cairns Group proposal on market access.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news