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World Farmers Organisation in breakthrough trade policy

16 April 2013

World Farmers Organisation in breakthrough trade policy

Farm leaders from over 50 countries including New Zealand have backed a break-through trade policy for the World Farmers Organisation (WFO).

"While we haven’t agreed with 100 percent of everything in this WFO trade policy, the policy is a major pro-trade breakthrough and a huge step in the right direction," says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President, speaking from Japan where the WFO is meeting.

"Getting 50 countries to agree a policy is challenging and you do not get perfect outcomes, however all recognised the need to free up the trade of food to meet the needs of a growing global population has been grasped by the world's leading farmer organisations.

"The WFO's guiding principles commit the WFO to the parallel elimination of all forms of export subsidies and disciplines on all export measures with equivalent effect. It all boils down to improved market access.

"The WFO also wants a substantial reduction in trade-distorting domestic support but with special and differential treatment for developing countries and the least developed.

"The feeling from the WFO is that strengthened rules should apply to export prohibition/restriction and export taxes too.

"Proper protection of geographical indications as provided for under the WTO agreement on trade in intellectual property and recognition of country-of-origin requirements that allows countries to distinguish their products without distorting trade is also important.

"The WFO strongly supports the World Trade Organisation and believes that multilateral negotiations leading to a comprehensive trade agreement is the best way to pursue these objectives.

"That said bilateral and regional trade agreements, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, also work. So long, I should say, that they contribute towards these objectives in a WTO compatible way respecting the WFO's Guiding Principles.

"Farmers everywhere need a fair, transparent and predictable trading environment but international trade itself needs to be guided by some fundamental principles and the WFO has taken a huge stride forward by the adoption of this trade policy" Mr Wills concluded.

ENDS

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