The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
FORMER MINISTER FOR TRADE

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile
18 May 2001

OECD Meeting Supports Further Global Trade Reform

Trade Minister Mark Vaile welcomed the strong support for a new round of global trade negotiations evident at this year's OECD Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) in Paris.

Mr Vaile said trade issues were prominent at the two-day annual OECD meeting and Australia had taken the opportunity to speak strongly in support of a new WTO trade round.

"The communique from the major industrialised economies of the world will assist to build momentum for a new round in the lead up to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Doha in November," Mr Vaile said.

The 2001 MCM had a strong emphasis on the needs of developing countries and included a meeting with a number of major non-OECD members to discuss their trade interests, including in a new round.

Improving access to international markets was a major theme of the meeting, along with sustainable development and economic growth.

Mr Vaile re-affirmed Australia's support for a broad based round which focussed on improved market access for agriculture, services and industrial products and the elimination of agricultural export subsidies.

"I am deeply concerned that trade distorting government support to farmers in OECD countries remains at record levels - a staggering US$327 billion per year.  It is unacceptable that OECD countries spend approximately seven times as much on farm protection as they spend on aid to developing countries," Mr Vaile said.

Mr Vaile said Australia was prepared to consider broadening the negotiating agenda to some so-called "new" issues such as investment, competition and environment issues but only if there were clearly defined negotiating objectives.

"I also believe that the best environmental outcomes can be achieved by removing subsidies from agriculture and fishing rather than in changing current WTO rules and disciplines," Mr Vaile said.

Contact:  James Baker (Ministerial) 02 6277 7420
Nicole Guihot (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

MVT75/2001


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