Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Collapse of WTO talks a major setback

Tim Groser MP
National Party Trade Spokesman

30 July 2008

Collapse of WTO talks a major setback

The collapse of the WTO talks in Geneva, over the highly technical issue of a special safeguard for developing country agricultural tariffs, is very disappointing for New Zealand, says National’s Trade spokesman, Tim Groser.

Mr Groser, the former WTO chair of agricultural negotiations, says a deal would have resulted in the elimination of all export subsidies for New Zealand, major cuts in agriculture and non-agriculture tariffs, and significant cuts in the most distorting forms of agriculture production subsidies.

It would also have paved the way for the prospect of further negotiations to open up service markets for New Zealand exporters.

“In addition, a successful WTO deal would have reinforced New Zealand’s FTA strategy by dealing with issues that no bilaterial FTA can deal with.

“”Beyond expressing my disappointment that talks have come to a standstill, I would also add that it is extraordinary that differences over this matter, known by trade negotiators as the SSM, or Special Safeguard Mechanism, could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“As in all safeguard negotiations, the issue was to find a fair balance between the legitimate need of developing country importers to have a useable safeguard to give temporary relief from import surges, and the long-term interests of agriculture exporters who need to be assured that such safeguards do not evolve into new and permanent trade barriers.

“It is, in my view, inconceivable that the further development of the world trading system will, in the long term, come to a halt over this matter. I am convinced that when the time is right a solution will be found, unlocking the promise of the Doha Development Round.

“In the meantime, recriminations about who is and who is not responsible for the failure are not only useless but damaging. People now need time out. The considerable achievements of many years of negotiations need to be locked in place.

“This round will have to be picked up again next year. Generally, the international trading system finds it difficult agreeing on how to move forward, but it is extremely good at crisis management.

“We are fortunate to have, in WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, a person with the skills, experience, and international networks to manage this most difficult situation.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Another Leader Exiting: Statement From Peter Dunne

I have concluded, based on recent polling, and other soundings I have been taking over the last few weeks, that, the volatility and uncertainty notwithstanding, there is now a mood amongst Ōhāriu voters for a change of MP, which is unlikely to alter...

“I have therefore decided that it is time for me to stand aside, so the people of Ōhāriu can elect a new electorate MP. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election