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WTO industrials Negotiating Group proposal.

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Media Release

Sunday, 18 May 2003 - MVT36/2003

WTO Industrials Negotiating Group Proposal

Trade Minister Mark Vaile today welcomed the release of draft guidelines for industrial trade reform by the Chair of the WTO Negotiating Group on Market Access, Pierre-Louis Girard.

“The release of the chair’s proposals is a positive signal for the Doha negotiations as a whole and for the September WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun. Industrials is an important element of the Doha market access package”, Mr Vaile said.

Although Mr Vaile was disappointed that the negotiating proposal seemed to have stepped back from some of the more ambitious proposals advocated by some members, he noted that it was a comprehensive proposal and would provide a useful basis to discuss the next phase of the negotiations.

The draft paper proposes:

• a formula approach to reducing tariffs, precise details to be determined • scope for additional negotiating modalities (eg zero-for-zero elimination of tariffs, sectoral harmonisation, and ‘request/offer’negotiations) • a process to address non-tariff barriers.

“Before responding we will need to examine the paper carefully. We will be canvassing industry views on the proposal and its implications for Australia’s interests in coming weeks. It is pleasing however that an across-the-board formula

has been proposed, with no sectors or product areas excluded.

“I look forward to discussing the Girard proposals with my ministerial colleagues at an informal WTO ministerial meeting to be held in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt on 20-22 June.”

Contact: Matthew Doman 02 6277 7420