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FFNZ Applauds WTO Round Launch

15 November 2001 PR172/01
FFNZ APPLAUDS WTO ROUND LAUNCH

Federated Farmers has applauded the successful launch of a new WTO Round in Qatar.

In Qatar for the launch negotiations, Federated Farmers president Alistair Polson described the result as good news for everyone and a reaffirmation of the importance of the WTO to world trade and future economic growth.

"Every nation stands to gain from freer trade, but the potential benefits for New Zealand are greater than most because of our dependence on agricultural trade.

"The agreed negotiating agenda calls for the phasing out of export subsidies. This is crucial because export subsidies are the most outrageous and damaging trade-distorting measures that directly lower farmers' returns.

"Agricultural trade also suffers from tariff barriers that are ten times higher than for all other goods and costs NZ farmers hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Substantial tariff reductions also form part of the negotiating agenda. "There is now a lot of hard work ahead of us to convert the negotiating agenda we have agreed here in Doha into tangible benefits for NZ's farmers.

"These negotiations will now probably take at least 3 years to complete but getting the whole process on track is a major achievement.

Mr Polson also said it was pleasing that developing country concerns were addressed in Doha including environmental issues.

"It is exciting that 142 countries have signed up to the aims of upholding and safeguarding an open and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system. They have recognised what New Zealand has demonstrated - trade and protection of the environment are mutually supportive.

"NZ's negotiating team in Doha has done a great job in handling all these issues and this effort will pay handsome dividends in years to come as the world trading environment works more fairly for everyone", concluded Mr Polson.

ENDS

Further information: Tom Lambie 026 113 161 Alistair Polson 021 379 985




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