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New texts a good basis for WTO Trade Ministers meeting.



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The Hon Simon Crean MP Minister for Trade

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Media contact: Mr Crean’s Office 02 6277 7420

Departmental (02) 6261 1555

SC051 11 July 2008

NEW TEXTS A GOOD BASIS FOR WTO TRADE MINISTERS MEETING

The Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, welcomed the release today of revised WTO negotiating texts - on agriculture and industrial products - as an important step towards concluding the Doha Round of world trade negotiations.

“Having these texts on the table will provide a focus for WTO Members as we prepare for the crucial meeting of WTO Trade Ministers in Geneva from 21 July”, Mr Crean said.

The texts outline possible ranges for reductions in tariffs and subsidies in both developed and developing countries. The extent of those reductions is yet to be agreed.

“Whilst some important differences remain, these texts nevertheless provide a good basis for ministerial engagement from 21 July”, Mr Crean said.

“These differences have existed for some time - confirming the need for this Ministerial meeting - as they will only be resolved at political level”.

“Australia will be examining the texts carefully and working closely with other WTO Members to encourage an outcome that sees meaningful reductions in trade barriers for our exporters - not just for agriculture and industrial goods, but also for services”.

“The 21 July meeting comes at a critical time in the Doha Round,” Mr Crean said. “Without significant breakthroughs at this meeting, our chances of concluding the main elements of a deal this year will be greatly reduced”.

“Prime Minister Rudd has made clear Australia’s commitment to concluding the Round as a matter of urgency. And last week in Hokkaido, G8 Leaders did the same”.

“I call on WTO members to show the leadership and negotiating flexibility necessary to translate that political commitment into real progress in these negotiations.”