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Meeting to Focus on Developing Country Issues

Sydney Informal trade Minister's Meeting to Focus on Developing Country Issues

Sydney Olympic Park will be the venue for the informal meeting of trade ministers on 15 November, Trade Minister Mark Vaile announced today.

"This meeting is an important opportunity for an informal discussion of key issues on the Doha Development Agenda. It will bring together trade ministers from 25 countries. Collectively these countries account for some 80 per cent of world trade, and also about 80 per cent of Australia’s exports," Mr Vaile said.

Mr Vaile said he was particularly pleased with the response to his invitation from developing countries.

"Seventeen of the twenty five countries attending are developing countries. Their presence will ensure this meeting can give close attention to their interests.

"Close engagement with developing countries is a priority for Australia. We share many of their perspectives on the need for fundamental reform of world agricultural trade. We want to work with developing countries in Sydney to help address other issues of importance to them such as access to medicines to meet genuine health crises.

"Our initiative last week to provide tariff and quota free access for least developed countries sets a new benchmark and I will be encouraging other developed countries to match this," Mr Vaile said.

Mr Vaile emphasised that this was a very important but informal meeting of trade ministers with no decision-making role.

"This meeting is not a formal meeting of the WTO. It is an informal meeting of ministers to facilitate a better understanding of a number of important issues being discussed as part of the Doha Development Agenda. "

Mr Vaile said that he is aware of interest within various groups of the community in the WTO, including its impact on developing countries. "I will be providing an opportunity for a number of NGO representatives to share their views with ministers," Mr Vaile said.

ENDS

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