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Geneva discussions.



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The Hon Simon Crean MP Minister for Trade

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Media contact: Mr Crean’s Office 02 6277 7420

Departmental (02) 6261 1555

SC090 6 November 2008

GENEVA DISCUSSIONS

Minister for Trade Simon Crean visited Geneva on 4-5 November for discussions on building political commitment for concluding a negotiating package in the Doha Round of world trade talks.

"My talks in Geneva have reinforced the important role trade can play in responding to the global financial crisis. Successful conclusion of the Doha Round will give a much needed confidence boost to the global economy," Mr Crean said

"In this regard, there is a growing awareness that we must use the window presented by the forthcoming G20 Leaders’ Summit to advance the Doha agenda."

Mr Crean met WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, Negotiating Group Chairs for Agriculture (Crawford Falconer) and Non-Agriculture Market Access (Luzius Wasescha), as well as with the Ambassadors of the Cairns Group.

"In all of these meetings I pressed Australia's view that we must have strong parallel political engagement to support the work of officials if the negotiations are to succeed. I indicated my commitment - and that of the Australian Government - to provide that political support and engagement," Mr Crean said.

"I also took the opportunity of my meeting with Director General Lamy to welcome his indication that he will seek another term as Director General. This too sends a very strong signal of commitment to conclude the Round.

"If we have the right political will, I am convinced we can conclude a Doha package - which would have major benefits for the world economy and for Australia's future trade and prosperity.

"In my meetings, I also discussed the important issue of the availability and cost of trade finance in light of the global financial crisis. The WTO is convening a meeting on this matter next week."