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Hill says time is fast running out for Uruguay round



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Sunday, September 29 Adelaide

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The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today said on leaving to take part in the bipartisan

Parliamentary delegation on European agriculture and the Uruguay Round that time was running out for a satisfactory outcome to the round.

"Time is fast running out for a satisfactory outcome to the Uruguay Round of the GATT," Senator Hill said.

"The last chance for resolution before the United States moves into Presidential election mode will occur when the Director- General of GATT, Mr Arthur Dunkel, presents an anticipated overall position paper in November.

"The round is critical to Australia's interests in achieving a substantial reduction and the eventual elimination of market access barriers and subsidies affecting agricultural trade.

"Satisfactory progress in agriculture is being hindered primarily by the European Community (EC), other European nations, Japan and Korea.

"The bipartisan delegation will communicate to European leaders the deeply held, cross-party concerns in Australia towards Europe's unwillingness to date to accept desirable levels of reduction in market protection and export subsidies.

"It has been estimated that the cost to Australian wheat and grain producers of the EC's 1990/91 level of grain industry protection is $695 million, of which $430 million is for wheat."

Senator Hill and the Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, Mr Bruce Lloyd, will meet tomorrow with GATT officials in Geneva for up-to-date briefings before the delegation starts its work in Paris on Tuesday.

The delegation will be led by the Minister for Trade and Overseas Development, Dr Blewett. Other members include the Chairman of the ALP's Rural Committee, Mr Brian Courtice, and the President of the National Fanners' Federation, Mr Graham

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The delegation is scheduled to meet EC Commissioners Andriessen and Mac Sharry in Brussels, and trade and

agriculture ministers in Paris, Bonn, The Hague and London.

"It is intolerable that fair traders such as Australian agricultural producers have had to suffer record low returns as a result of the world's most powerful economic group distorting the market through protection and subsidies," Senator Hill said.

"The Federal Opposition supports efforts to communicate to European consumers the excess cost of food resulting from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

"It is important that we complement the pressure for reform being applied by the Cairns Group and other fair traders."

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Enquiriesi Mark Batistich on (08) 224 0167