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Fresh water before champagne

2 August, 2004

Fresh water before champagne

The Green Party warned today that it is too early to buy the champagne - let alone put it on ice - following yesterday's agreement to a new draft declaration at the WTO meeting in Geneva.

"Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton has been too quick to claim that the Geneva deal will be worth billions of dollars to the New Zealand economy," said Green Party Co-leader Rod Donald.

"For a start, the agreement only establishes a framework and contains no detail, nor an end date for when America and the EU will stop subsidising their exports.

"What's more, a new 'sensitive products' category could mean that rich countries will never end their domestic protections.

"The Green Party supports the Government's efforts to eliminate export subsidies and domestic production subsidies because they undermine food security in developing countries and cause negative environmental impacts across the board," he said.

"But, we are opposed to the Labour Government pushing for tariffs and other domestic protections being reduced. No country should be forced to accept goods that it does not want or need.

"The draft agreement fails to meet the needs of developing countries because it doesn't improve access to medicines and it does little to address the problem of export-dumping by rich countries.

"The so-called Doha development round is still tilted in favour of the rich world and will topple over if it doesn't deliver the relief that developing nations desperately need.

"Before we start cracking the champagne we should remember that over one billion people still do not have access to fresh, running water.

"The challenge remains for trade negotiators to demonstrate that they are committed to fair trade for the world's poor, rather than free trade for the world's rich," said Mr Donald.

ENDS

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