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Doha trade round a greater priority than climate change

9 September 2011

Doha trade round a greater priority than climate change

Federated Farmers has backed the strongly worded communiqué issued from the Cairns Group Farm Leaders meeting in Saskatoon, Canada. The Federation’s President, Bruce Wills, is in Canada as part of the Cairns Group of 19 major agricultural exporting countries.

“After a decade of negotiations, December’s World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Ministerial must set an immutable timetable for the Doha Round’s successful conclusion,” says Bruce Wills, President of Federated Farmers speaking from Canada.

“I would actually say right now, Doha is of more significance to developing countries than international climate change negotiations.

“At a time when food security concerns are escalating, Doha is at the heart of creating wealth for a large swathe of humanity. Misguided domestic agricultural policies continue to distort trade and by depressing global farm incomes, it does little for social or economic cohesion.

“Federated Farmers joins our fellow farm leaders in calling for world leaders to show the political will to find common ground. That includes actively encouraging Cairns Group Minsters to re-focus their efforts to bring the Doha Development Round to a successful conclusion.

“The Cairns Group of Farm Leaders expressed some unease at the WTO’s intention to take a two tiered “early harvest” approach to concluding the Doha Round. That would make any second round incredibly tough going given the experience of the past ten years.

“As New Zealand has ably demonstrated with its range of free trade agreements, farm leaders are open to multilateral trade liberalisation but that should not lower the ambition of Doha.

“Farm leaders have called on the WTO and governments to lock in their previous commitments. This includes removing export subsidies and making real progress on market access, export competition and domestic support; the three pillars within the Doha Development Round.

“Farm leaders have also urged Cairns Group Ministers to examine how non-tariff trade barriers can be stopped. Farmers want a strict adherence to science-based decision making.

“We agree with the Ministers’ statement that, “A stable, predictable, distortion free and transparent system for trade allows the unrestricted flow of food and agricultural commodities, contributing to food security”.

“We now need the Cairns Group Ministers to put these fine words into effect across the WTO’s membership to get a new Doha work plan in place before December’s WTO Ministerial Meeting.

“Farm Leaders demand that the WTO’s December Ministerial, define exactly how it will refocus the Doha Development Round agenda by setting immutable timetables for its successful conclusion,” Mr Wills concluded.

The Cairns Group communiqué is available by clicking here.


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