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Joint Communique On WTO Doha Round

Joint Communique On WTO Doha Round

Cer 20th Anniversary Ministerial Forum

Ministers reaffirmed the importance of supporting a strong, open, rules-based multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Recognising the substantial global benefits that will flow from the successful and timely conclusion of the Doha Round, Ministers stressed that the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancún, now less than two weeks away, will be crucial to realising the ambition of the Doha mandate. Ministers called on their WTO Ministerial colleagues to come to Cancún prepared to make the difficult decisions necessary if the Doha Round negotiations are to make a real difference to world trade in agriculture, industrial products and services. Ministers recognised the hard work by the Chair of the General Council to produce the draft Cancún Ministerial text but noted that the ambition, particularly in agriculture and non-agriculture market access,fell well short of what was required to meet the Doha mandate.

Ministers emphasised that achieving an ambitious outcome on agriculture reform is the key to the entire Doha Round agenda and the key outcome to advance the economic prosperity of developing country members. Ministers resolved to ensure that the WTO agriculture negotiations in Cancún deliver fully on the far-reaching mandate for reform agreed in Doha. Ministers noted the latest draft Cancún Ministerial text, but emphasised that the proposals in the text on agriculture fall well short of the ambition of the Doha mandate. Ministers noted that the Cairns Group shared this view and would be insisting on an outcome that made a significant improvement in world agricultural trade. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to achieve substantial cuts to existing domestic support, substantial improvements in market access and to eliminate all export subsidies. This needs to be done in a way that covers all products and sectors.

Ministers reaffirmed that they oppose negotiations on the extension of higher levels of geographical indications protection beyond wines and spirits being introduced into the Doha Round, not least because this issue is not covered by the Doha mandate. Ministers remained firmly committed to the view that the issue of geographical indications has no place in the agriculture negotiations.

Ministers reaffirmed their support for an ambitious outcome from the negotiations on non-agricultural market access, covering both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, that delivers real improvements in market access for our exporters. Ministers noted the latest draft Cancún Ministerial text lacked the necessary specificity on the core formula. They supported recent proposals to implement a simple, ambitious, comprehensive, harmonising formula for tariff reductions applied on a line by line basis to all non-agricultural tariff lines to ensure that there is a genuine improvement in market access.

Recognising that only a small proportion of developing country WTO members had submitted initial offers in the services negotiations, Ministers reiterated their call for more members, particularly developing countries and members in our region, to table offers on trade in services.

Ministers welcomed signs of positive progress towards a solution by Cancún on the important issue of access to medicines for developing countries.

Ministers noted that all 49 least developed countries now had complete duty and quota free entry into both Australia and New Zealand, with no exemptions, exceptions or phase-in periods. Ministers called on other WTO members to consider providing such access to least developed countries.

Ministers reaffirmed the strength of Australia and New Zealand's working relationship on WTO issues and looked forward to its continuation in the critical days leading up to and during the Cancún Conference.

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