Parliament

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

 

Agriculture Paper Meets Some Reform Objectives


Draft Wto Agriculture Paper Meets Some Reform Objectives, But Not Others

The draft World Trade Organisation agriculture paper was "like the proverbial curate's egg ? good in parts", Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton, speaking from Tokyo where he is to attend a WTO "mini-ministerial" meeting with about 25 other WTO members, said that despite the shortcomings of the draft plan, the WTO must remain committed to the ambitious mandate for reform of the rules governing trade in agricultural products that was agreed to by every WTO Member in Doha in 2001.

A draft of the so-called "modalities"paper was published by the Chairman of the WTO agriculture negotiations, Stuart Harbinson, today. The paper proposes the framework for new commitments and rules for the WTO agriculture negotiations.

Mr Sutton said Mr Harbinson had done a professional job in difficult circumstances in his first draft.

"But we're far from the end of the road. While the text looks like a step in the right direction, it does not meet New Zealand and Cairns Group expectations.

"It certainly accommodates most developing country concerns and ? importantly for New Zealand ? for the first time it sets a definite date for the elimination of export subsidies. But that date is still much too far away: export subsidies undermine world markets and hurt farmers in New Zealand and around the world. They must be removed as quickly as possible.

"The paper also fails to meet Cairns Group ambitions for tariff reductions and domestic subsidy cuts. The flexibility it gives would allow countries to pick and choose products and could leave some highly distorted products largely excluded," he said.

The paper sets out a formula for tariff reductions which would deliver bigger reductions for higher tariffs, but which would also leave scope for countries to apply minimum reductions in politically-sensitive products. It calls for some tariff quotas to be expanded, although to a lower level than the Cairns Group was seeking. Export subsidies are to be phased out over a 6 to 10 year period, but the proposal would allow countries to choose sensitive sectors for the later elimination date. Trade-distorting domestic support would be reduced by 50 to 60 percent of existing bound levels, which could leave actual applied subsidy rates largely unchanged in many countries. Mr Sutton said he was particularly disappointed at low level of tariff quota expansion.

"The improvements of the current proposal would be less than those achieved in the Uruguay Round. Domestic support has recently been highlighted by the OECD as the source of many of the worst problems in agricultural trade yet the Harbinson paper would leave much support in place even after 5 years."

Mr Sutton said he would be making it clear to other ministers at the Tokyo Mini-Ministerial that the text needed to be improved.

"But we have to recall that this is a first draft, and we have a further six weeks to negotiate on it before the modalities must be established.

"Other Members will have their own concerns about the paper. But I will remind my colleagues this weekend that this draft must be regarded as the basis for all of us to keep working in order to finalise the modalities by 31 March. The Doha mandate was clear about that deadline, and we will respect it."

Mr Sutton said that he had tasked officials to examine the detail of the text closely against the Doha mandate and to continue negotiations on it in Geneva.

WTO Ministers will meet again in September 2003 in Cancun, Mexico, and the Doha Round is scheduled to conclude on 1 January 2005.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Reaction

Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced

 

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>

ALSO:


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election