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Failure of the Dalian WTO Meeting.

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KEVIN RUDD M.P. Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and International Security 13 JULY 2005


Mr Vaile should spend more time on the WTO and less time on FTAs

Mark Vaile said today that the WTO meeting in Dalian had made no real progress on market access for agriculture.

This will place even more stress on the final meeting of the Doha Round in Hong Kong in December.

Given Australia’s appalling export performance in recent years, this is bad news for Australia’s trade and economic prospects.

Mr Vaile sought today to blame the US and EU for the failure at Dalian.

Mr Vaile seems always to adopt the policy that success has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan.

As Chair of the Cairns Group and a member of the Five Interested Parties on Agriculture, Mr Vaile has considerable negotiating authority.

The problem is Mr Vaile is not directing sufficient political and bureaucratic resources to the WTO round -these are being directed instead to the raft of bilateral free trade agreements that the Government is seeking to negotiate.

Now is the time for Mr Vaile to reassess his approach to Australia’s trade policy.

Under Labor, Australia drove the Uruguay Round. Despite the challenges and difficulties Labor got a successful outcome.

The Prime Minister must use his forthcoming visit to the United States and United Kingdom to convince President Bush and Prime Minister Blair of the need to provide the political leadership required to overcome this latest setback.

Australia’s trade and economic interests must not be squandered because Mr Vaile now considers the task of successfully concluding the Doha Round is too hard.

Ends. 13 July 2005

Contact: Alister Jordan 0417 605 823