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Note Of Caution On EU Offer

Dr Lockwood Smith

National Foreign Affairs and Trade Spokesman

13 May 2004

Note of caution on EU offer

National's Foreign Affairs and Trade Spokesman, Dr Lockwood Smith, has expressed a note of caution following the European Union announcement to eventually eliminate export subsidies.

Dr Smith said the letter from Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler and Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy linked their offer of eliminating export subsidies to a satisfactory outcome on market access and domestic support.

"While the export subsidy issue is hugely important and is welcomed, it is not actually the sticking point at Geneva right now.

"In recent weeks market access has caused an impasse. Efforts by the Committee on Agriculture to find a way forward on the issue have failed to find common ground and make any progress.

"The WTO Doha Round of trade liberalisation depends on progress being made in agriculture."

Dr Smith says his concern is that the offer of export subsidies may be an attempt to deflect attention from the market access issue that may cause agriculture negotiations to falter yet again.

"This is something we cannot let happen."

Ends


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