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Hope for jobs by upholding international law

2 August 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Progressive hope for jobs by upholding international law

The weekend breakthrough in talks among World Trade Organization governments offers the prospect of gains for employment in New Zealand, Progressive MP Matt Robson said today.

"Everyone in New Zealand can celebrate the news that the WTO's Doha Development Round now appears on track for a future agreement which may include significant reductions in the punitive cross-border barriers to our agricultural exports.

"The breakthrough in talks is an affirmation for the rule of law between nations and the prospect for further gains in employment and development shows the benefit that flow from multilateral negotiations to resolve disputes," Matt Robson said.

Governments over the weekend reached agreement in principle to lower unfair trade barriers that hurt efficient producers not only in New Zealand but in other economies which have large primary production sectors. Governments agreed to advance the rule of law in international trade by agreeing to a framework for negotiating the eventual elimination of agricultural export subsidies, the reduction in domestic agricultural subsidies and generally improved access to markets through a reduction in import taxes or tariffs on agricultural goods.

The moves have been welcomed by Fonterra, Meat & Wool New Zealand, the New Zealand Forest Industries Council and by workers in those sectors. Efficient sugar producers in the developing world have the prospect of gaining significant financial gains.

"If the European Union, Japan and the U.S. governments are serious about wanting to drain the swamps of poverty in the Third World in which political extremism and terrorism thrives then they will ensure that the eventual deal struck in the Doha Development Round offers significant gains to all primary producers in the Third World, including cotton producers.

"Any failure by the richest nations to properly address cotton would be a self-defeating betrayal not only of efficient farmers in the developing countries and their families who are so hurt by existing U.S. cotton export dumping – but would also represent a serious failure by the governments of the major nations in the broader campaign against poverty and the terrorism which thrives in the conditions of poverty," Matt Robson said.

ENDS

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