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Blewett launches awareness campaign for EC companies



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MINISTER FOR TRADE AND OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT NEWS RELEASE

No. Date:

MT6 6

Blewett launches awareness campaign for EC consumers

The Australian Government today launched an awareness campaign designed to show European Community consumers how much extra they are paying for protectionist farm policies.

The Minister for Trade and Overseas Development, Neal Blewett, unveiled the centrepiece of the campaign, the booklet 'Are You Paying Too Much?', at the Grains 2000 Conference in Canberra today.

Dr Blewett said that the booklet was being printed in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian and would be distributed through Australian Embassies to consumer groups in each of these countries.

He said that the booklet described simply the costs to EC consumers, taxpayers and farming groups of the massive subsidies paid under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

It showed that EC consumers pay between 19 and 52 percent more for food, and taxpayers up to 27 percent more in direct taxes, due to the cost of CAP subsidies.

For example, CAP subsidies add 400 pounds (approx A$880) to the annual food bill of an average UK household (4000 francs for France and 1000 deutschemarks for G e rmany). And the same family would pay another 225 pounds (approx A$500) extra a year in direct taxes to support EC farmers (2200 francs and 600

deutschemarks).

"The pamphlet demonstrates that the CAP not only grossly distorts world trade, but also massively inflates the price EC consumers are charged for farm produce and the amount of tax they have to pay.

"As these additional costs are not readily identifiable, consumers tend to be unaware of the extent of the financial burden being placed upon them by the CAP.

"And it is not in the interests of their pro-protectionist governments to make available this kind of information, which might encourage stronger calls for reform.

"This is why the Australian Government has taken the unusual step of preparing information for dissemination in another country.

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"Its publication coincides with an increasing level of community debate in EC countries about the high costs of the CAP and the need for genuine reform.

"It also coincides with a critical period in the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations, in which reform of world agricultural trade remains one of the key issues yet to be resolved.

"This pamphlet was prepared by the Australian Government using published independent economic research undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).

It provides objective, commonsense answers to some questions of critical importance to EC consumers, taxpayers and farmers.

"It is designed to contribute constructively to the current debate," said Dr Blewett.

Canberra: September 10 1991