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Trade Hopes With Cairns Group – Crean

  • February 13th, 2008
  • Posted by EUA Editor

cairns-group-logo.jpgThe Australian Trade Minister, Simon Crean, has foreshadowed moves to take advantage of a possible break in the stalled Doha Round trade negotiations – and a return to emphasising joint efforts with allies in the Cairns Group.

FRESH EFFORTS ON DOHA

He said a change had come up at the trade talks at officials level in Geneva, with the release of revised negotiating (“modalities”) texts on agriculture and non-agricultural market access (NAMA).

New political agreement had emerged at the recent Davos consultations, to get progress on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Round.

“In the last five years world trade has been growing twice the rate of world output.

“The message is clear: particularly at this time of economic uncertainty every effort must be made to address the major distortions that remain in world trade to provide a much-needed confidence boost to the global economy

“In the immediate future I will also be consulting with my Cairns Group colleagues on their views on the texts and on next steps.

“I will be speaking to other key players in the negotiations as well.

“Our objective must be to finalise the texts over the next couple of months if we are to conclude the negotiations this year,” he said.

CAIRNS GROUP

Australia has been collaborating at international trade talks since the late 1980s with the Cairns Group states – nineteen farm exporting countries mostly from the Asia-Pacific and Latin America. *

The Alliance worked most closely at the former Uruguay Round negotiations though with limited success against continuing American and European protectionism.

DETAILS FROM STATEMENT BY SIMON CREAN

Agriculture

The text on agriculture now provides a comprehensive basis to move forward on all outstanding issues. Australia and the Cairns Group are looking for substantial and effective cuts to farm support by the major subsidisers, the elimination of all forms of export subsidies, and substantial improvements in market access for our agriculture exports through tariff reductions and through significant expansion of quotas for so-called Sensitive Products.

We need further clarity on market access and other areas of the text to allow us to judge the quality of the outcomes for our exporters. We are studying the text carefully together with our Cairns Group colleagues to share our views and to identify the further work required.

Non-Agricultural Market Access

On NAMA … we are prepared to push for ambition but we are not prepared to do so without equivalent effort from others. We will push not only to lock in the tariff cuts that have been made by some of the major economies but also to generate new market access. We will need to see appropriate balance in the overall outcome for NAMA, including the contribution from developing countries.

Services

We will insist on the critical importance of an ambitious outcome on services as part of the final Doha package … Australia will continue to press for commercially meaningful improvements for our services exports and will also support an early ‘signalling exercise’ of liberalisation commitments.

* Cairns Group member countries: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay

Reference:

Trade Minister (Australia), Building the Doha Momentum; new texts issued in Geneva, Canberra, SC016, 10.2.08.

Cairns Group (Home), http://www.cairnsgroup.org/, (13.2.08).

Picture: Cairns Group logo.

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