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Quint Ministers examine agriculture essentials.

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Home | Media Releases DAFF05/05017PMJ - 21 August 2005

Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Richard Colbeck

Quint Ministers examine agriculture essentials

Agriculture Ministers from the world's largest economies met in Australia this week providing an important opportunity for Australia and its key agricultural counterparts to talk frankly on common interests prior to the World Trade Organisation Ministerial meeting this December.

Australian Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran hosted the Quint Meeting at Sanctuary Cove, Queensland with his Parliamentary Secretary Senator Richard Colbeck, and was joined by:

z Mike Johanns, Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture

z Mariann Fischer Boel, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development

z Mineichi Iwanaga, Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

z Andy Mitchell, Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, Mr McGauran said the major issues discussed included the state of play in the Doha Round agriculture negotiations, and current agricultural policy developments in Quint countries.

"The meeting, which Australia hosted for the first time, allowed Australia to relay concerns with the limited progress that is currently being made with the Doha negotiations. The need for strong leadership from Quint countries will be critical to the success of the WTO negotiations," Mr McGauran said.

"The prospect of future international agricultural market prospects was also comprehensively discussed, given the vital importance of market access to Australian farmers. With 65 per cent of our increasing agricultural production exported each year,

we must continue to gain access to new markets in order to maintain farming's profitability.

"The importance of this meeting to Australian farmers cannot be overstated. The export markets of the US, Japan, the European Union and Canada are critical to us, and the past few days have given us direct access to the key decision-makers of these developed economies.

"We were also able to discuss policy developments, such as the 2007 US Farm Bill, and further reform on the Common Agriculture Policy of the European Union."

Senator Colbeck said the meeting reinforced the urgent need to put the WTO Doha negotiations back on track.

"The serious implications of failure were made clear to all Ministers," he said.

During a site visit to Australia's largest meat processor and beef exporter, Australian


Meat Holdings at Dinmore, outside Brisbane, the Agricultural Ministers saw the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) in operation.

The NLIS offers Australia a competitive advantage in export markets, due to the traceability and food security it provides. The mandatory system came into operation in Australia on 1 July 2005.

Further media inquiries:

Minister McGauran's office:

Gemma Allman 0408 971 708 Senator Colbeck's office:

Aaron Oldaker 0408 826 330

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