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French farmers should take their medicine now



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eTee^se SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENERGY AND RESOURCES MEMBER FOR FARRER

Enquiries Parliament House Canberra, A.C.T. 2600. Phone (06) 277 4058 Fax (06) 277 2052

FRENCH FARMERS SHOULD TAKE THEIR MEDICINE NOW

French farmers should stop trying to wriggle their way out of trade reform and take their medicine now, the Federal Leader of the National Party, Tim Fischer, said today.

"The sooner they do it, the better - both for their own sakes and that of world economic growth," Mr Fischer told a meeting of the National Farmers Union in Yorkshire, England.

Mr Fischer is in the UK to assess agricultural trade, energy and resources issues, and the European political situation, before the European Summit and talks aimed at finalising the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.

In the past week he has held a series of trade talks in Mexico, the USA, and France, and will visit Thailand on his way back to Australia.

"Both French farmers and the French Government are deliberately manoeuvring in a way which threatens to derail the final steps of the Uruguay Round," Mr Fischer said.

"On the one hand the French claim they are merely trying to

maximise compensation, but on the other some observers warn France may go all the way to block the successful completion of the Round. ' *

"The longer French farmers delay taking their graduated medicine, which is to be phased in over many years, the more difficult it will be for them.

"I say to the French farmers, take your medicine now in your own interests - or, to put it in French, prenez votre prescription maintenantI"

Mr Fischer acknowledged recent French agreement to greater access for Australian wine into Europe, but added that this was only a small measure in terms of the wider problems facing world trade.

"Winning a successful conclusion to the Uruguay Round of GATT is a task for all trading nations around the world, and France can not shirk its share of this responsibility," Mr Fischer said.

8 December, 1992

(Mr Fischer can be contacted at the Goring Hotel, London 071 396 9000)

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