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Statement to Cairns Group Ministers

Federated Farmers President, Tom Lambie speaking from Cancun yesterday said he welcomed the clear and unequivocal statement made by Cairns Group farmers and delivered to Cairns Group Ministers attending the WTO discussions. The text of the statement is as follows.

As farm leaders we represent millions of farmers in Cairns Group countries, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Guatemala, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa and Uruguay.

We are gathered here in Cancun, Mexico, because the Doha Round of negotiations is the 'opportunity of the century' for Governments to stop the on-going problem of support and protectionism.

Cairns Group Farm Leaders' believe that there can be no Doha Round outcome without a comprehensive agreement on agriculture.

We believe that the Cancun draft Ministerial declaration will not achieve the objectives of farmers around the world and urge Ministers to work vigorously toward a successful outcome.

Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to meaningful reform of world agriculture trade in the Doha negotiations. High levels of spending and the disruptive effect of some food aid programs contribute to underdevelopment, high unemployment and instability in many developing countries. Globally, this is unsustainable.

In the Doha Round, Cairns Group farmers are not willing to accept another limited set of outcomes. The deficiencies in the current agreement must be addressed. Success in the Doha Round will only be achieved if all WTO members are prepared to adopt bold and ambitious goals for agricultural trade reform.

Our vision is a world where an equitable and enforceable rules-based trading system in agriculture creates the opportunities for developed, developing countries and farmers to benefit from a sustainable agriculture sector and at the same time enjoy the benefits on their economies, contributing to the socio-economic development and political stability.

Cairns Group Farm Leaders have a simple message for the ministers attending this week's WTO meeting in Cancun . Now is the time to deliver on the Doha mandate.

For all forms of export subsidies, we call for immediate elimination.

We want substantial improvements in market access to result in more open, effective, equitable access for all products,

On domestic support we seek substantial reduction of all trade and production distorting domestic support within a mandated timeframe.

We support meaningful special and differential treatment for Developing Countries, allowing them to unlock the potential of their agricultural industries and participate effectively in the global marketplace.

Sustainable development, protection of the environment and the responsible use of the world's resources is greatly enhanced by sensible economic policies such as trade reform in the spirit of the WTO. Long-term protection of the environment is greatly enhanced by the promotion of economic growth through compliance with a rules-based system for international trade.

We know that you, as Ministers representing our countries, are equally dedicated to this cause. Cairns Group Farm Leaders are committed to working closely with our Ministers in order to fulfil the objectives of fundamental reform in agricultural trade. We thank you for your continuing efforts on our behalf. We wish you well in your deliberations over the coming days.

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