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Trade Minister's plea to G8 leaders

Trade Minister's plea to G8 leaders

A Call for the major economic powers not to let the Doha round of WTO talks fail.

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Trade Minister Phil Goff has led a call by Ministers from five other countries for the worlds major economic powers not to let the Doha round of WTO talks fail.

"I have engaged with likeminded colleagues from countries represented in the 'Green Room' negotiating group in Geneva to create a public statement coinciding with the G8 summit in St Petersburg. The countries include Australia, Chile, Hong Kong, Kenya and Singapore.

"We have drafted a clear and concise statement which has been published in the form of a letter to the editor of the Financial Times, appearing on July 17. Every international edition of the Times carried the letter. We hope the letter conveys the message to the G8 attendees and other large developing countries attending the G8 outreach, including Brazil and India, that they must work together to help the Round move forward.

"The consequences of failure are too serious for any country to want to contemplate responsibility for this outcome.

"The gap between the key players is not so great that is cannot be bridged if they are prepared to show the determination and flexibility to do so", Mr Goff said.

MESSAGE FROM TRADE MINISTERS OF AUSTRALIA, CHILE, HONG KONG, KENYA, NEW ZEALAND AND SINGAPORE

Dear Sir,

In St Petersburg today leaders of large developed and developing countries will be asking themselves how they can unblock the World Trade Organisation negotiations. Others will be listening for the answers.

This handful of WTO members holds the key to a breakthrough on a few critical issues.

We are not blind to the scale of the challenge they face. The issues are tough because they involve change. Agreement will not be reached without commitment to real market opening and real subsidy reform. Nor will agreement be possible without an assurance that the interests of the most vulnerable members of our global society will be secured.

A workable balance will not easily be found. To reach agreement will require courage, vision and leadership from those governments.

They carry a heavy responsibility. They hold in their hands the future of the world trading system. As G8 leaders acknowledged last year in Gleneagles, what is at stake here is also a key element in the global development agenda.

The responsibility is not theirs alone. All of us have to share the load. We stand ready to make our own contributions. But the first steps will have to be taken in St Petersburg.

Recently in Geneva a colleague summed it up: success is within our grasp - yet we stand on the brink of failure. The response from others on that occasion was clear and strong: we cannot afford failure. That is our message again today: we must not fail.

Mark Vaile
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade
AUSTRALIA

Alejandro Foxley
Minister of Foreign Affairs
CHILE

Joseph Wong
Secretary of Commerce, Industry and Technology
HONG KONG, CHINA

Mukhisa Kituyi
Minister for Trade and Industry
KENYA

Phil Goff
Minister forTrade Negotiations
NEW ZEALAND

Lim Hng Kiang
Minister for Trade and Industry
SINGAPORE


ENDS

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