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Cairns Group takes aim at domestic support.

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Media release

Saturday 28 September 2002 - MVT116/2002

Cairns Group Takes Aim at Domestic Support

Australian agricultural producers would benefit considerably from cuts to trade-distorting domestic subsidies proposed by the Cairns Group, Group Chair Trade Minister Mark Vaile said today.

Mr Vaile was speaking following the tabling overnight in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) of the Cairns Group negotiating proposal on agricultural domestic support.

"The Cairns Group is again taking the lead at the WTO to reform heavily distorted agricultural markets," Mr Vaile said.

"Extraordinarily high support for agriculture, particularly in rich OECD countries, is a travesty for efficient farmers everywhere, including Australia.  The WTO must tackle this issue head-on."

The Cairns Group proposal would eliminate within five years current entitlements to production and trade-distorting domestic support, worth around $US73 billion in the European Union, $US31 billion in Japan, and $US19 billion in the United States.

"The Cairns Group proposal is designed to lead to more open and efficient markets to the benefit of all WTO Members, including developing countries.

"The proposal reaffirms the Cairns Group's leading role in assisting developing countries with their reform efforts with all trade-distorting domestic support in developed countries to be eliminated over a short period.

"There is no reason why farmers in developing countries should have to compete with subsidy-driven farmers and farming industries in the developed world.

"With the recent release of strong negotiating positions from the Cairns Group and from the US, other developed countries should be encouraged to bring forward their proposals for agricultural trade reform."

Media Contact: Mark Croxford +61 02 6277 7420

This page last modified: Monday, 30-Sep-2002 09:22:20 EST

Local Date: Monday, 30-Sep-2002 11:33:30 EST