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Farm leaders reaffirm trade liberalisation agenda



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The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Minister for Primary Industries and Energy

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

FARM LEADERS REAFFIRM TRADE LIBERALISATION AGENDA

Farm trade leaders from government and industry today reaffirmed Australia’s resolve to achieve world trade liberalisation, to prise open new export markets.

Farmer organisations and commodity groups, including beef, grains, dairy, cotton, seafoods, processed foods and horticulture, met with Trade Minister Tim Fischer and Primary Industries Minister John Anderson to plan the next steps in Australia’s farm trade agenda.

The meeting delivered a clear message that Australia must hold to its policy on trade liberalisation, including consistency in dealing with import applications.

“The key leadership role that Australia must take on reform of world agriculture is as clear now as it ever was,” Mr Fischer said.

“We will continue this through chairing the Caims Group and our activist approach to the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference at Geneva in May 1988.

“A Caims Group meeting in Sydney next April will be a vital precursor to the Geneva conference,” he said.

Other chances to press Australia’s case include the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) meeting next month, and revival of the ‘Quint’ forum comprising the agriculture ministers of USA, European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia.

Mr Anderson said it had to be recognised that Australia exported five times as much food as it imported, and that real benefits were now flowing from new market opportunities.

“Some farm industry sectors have already developed strategy papers on their priorities for future agricultural liberalisation,” he said.

“For example, the meat industry is proposing an EU Market Access Strategy in the lead-up to forthcoming agricultural negotiations, while the grains industry has also established a Grains Trade Working Group for this purpose.

“The Federal Government must and will support these efforts in dealing with both export opportunities and import applications,” Mr Anderson said.

22 October, 1997 221097A

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