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G8: Trade message needs to be told

G8: Trade message needs to be told

Cairns Group members urge G8 leaders to show the world they are serious about dealing with the problems of poverty in developing countries by promoting bold reforms in global agriculture trade.

Cairns Group members welcome calls for the G8 to provide global leadership in the cause of fundamental agricultural reform, beginning with the abolition of export subsidies, massive trade distorting subsidies and providing genuine new market access. Unless demonstrable progress is made soon to end the long-standing discrimination against agriculture in the WTO, the DDA will not be able to deliver on its crucial development goals.

Agriculture often represents between one third and one half of the economic output in developing countries, compared with 3-5 percent of economic output in industrialised countries. Yet restrictive market access barriers and high subsidies have for decades compromised the ability of developing country farmers to participate in global agricultural trade, limiting their incomes and their ability to escape poverty. Protectionist approaches to agriculture will only continue to depress world prices and lock-out developing countries from vital export markets.

The Cairns Group has pushed long and hard for elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies, the substantial reduction of rich countries' trade distorting domestic support and substantial improvements in market access for all agricultural goods. If successful, over two-thirds of developing countries' total gains from the Doha Round would come from such reforms.

This is where the G8 should be directing their efforts. Liberalising agricultural trade according to the World Bank will lift the incomes of 2.5 billion people in developing countries by about $50 billion and contribute to reducing poverty.

Cairns Group members believe that a key contribution that G8 leaders can make this week to assist developing countries on a path to sustainable development will be to support an ambitious outcome in the WTO agriculture negotiations, in order to deliver the genuine development outcomes promised by the Doha Development Round for the world's poor.

6 July 2005

Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay

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