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NFF Rejects Harbinson's WTO Proposal

Australian National Farmers’ Federation President, Mr Peter Corish today confirmed that after due consideration, NFF had rejected as unacceptable to Australian farmers the WTO proposals recently put forward by the Chair of the WTO Agriculture Committee, Mr Stuart Harbinson.

The NFF calls on the Federal Government to stand firm against the unacceptable modalities in Mr Harbinson’s paper. These proposals do not go far enough to liberalise world trade in agriculture and Minister Vaile must ensure that the WTO goes much further, Mr Corish said.

Mr Harbinson’s proposals, particularly on market access, are way short of the mark. They do not result in substantial reform and we reject them. It is the NFF’s view that the proposal on modalities put forward by the Cairns Group must be maintained as the basis for moving forward.

Australian farmers have waited long enough for substantial trade reform. We are sick and tired of compromise. It is clear that continued protection and subsidisation of farmers in the US, Europe and Japan in a way that distorts trade is detrimental to their own domestic consumers, developing countries and the international economy. Support levels for foreign farmers today are as high as they were at the start of the Uruguay Round, Mr Corish said.

The Doha Round is the opportunity of a century to liberalise farm trade we cannot afford to miss this opportunity. It’s time countries like Japan, the US and many in Europe stopped holding world agriculture to ransom and we urge Minister Vaile to remain strong in the negotiations.

Australia’s farmers will not accept a second rate outcome from the Doha Round, Mr Corish concluded.

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