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Jim Sutton to attend Sydney WTO meeting

Jim Sutton to attend Sydney WTO meeting

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton leaves tomorrow to attend a World Trade Organisation meeting in Sydney, Australia.

Mr Sutton said the meeting of about 20 trade ministers from WTO member countries was an important one.

"Under the WTO process, nothing is agreed till everything is agreed. For everything to be agreed, each component has to be agreed or at least understood so that people know what the trade-offs are. This meeting is a chance to thrash out some of these issues.

"Negotiations mandated by the Doha meeting in Qatar have just started, and this meeting is a good way to continue the momentum from that Doha meeting."

Mr Sutton said the negotiations in what were termed "industrial" goods (fish, forestry, and manufactured products) were lagging behind those on agricultural products and services. New Zealand's proposal to eliminate all tariffs on industrial goods was likely to be discussed at the Sydney meeting.

He said it was acknowledged throughout the WTO membership that the Doha round was an important one for both agriculture and developing nations.

"Agriculture barely got its nose in last time (through the Uruguay Round). This time, it is at the core of the negotiations. If there isn't a substantial outcome for developing nations, most of whom are agricultural traders, then there won't be a Doha result. It will be vetoed.

"That's why our tariff proposal in the industrials negotiations is important ? it offers something for nations who mainly trade manufactured goods, to make it worthwhile facing down their protectionist farmers on agricultural access."


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