The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP


Media releases

Wednesday 6 March 2002 / MVT13/2002

Developing Countries Need Trade Not Aid

Australia will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of a good outcome on agriculture in the World Trade Organisation negotiations, Trade Minister Mark Vaile said today.

Speaking at the annual ABARE Outlook Conference, Mr Vaile said world agricultural markets are extremely distorted by subsidies and support amounting to some $327 million per year. (Note: see correction notice MVT15)

"Agricultural support and protection in rich countries does enormous damage to the economies of developing countries, who would benefit far more from open markets and fair competition than from relatively low levels of aid," Mr Vaile said.

"The amount spent on agricultural subsidies and support by developed countries is nearly eight time more than is spent on aid to developing countries of the world.

"Put simply, rich countries provide farmers around USD1 billion each day, compared to approximately USD43 billion in foreign aid to poor countries per year.

At last year’s World Trade Organisation Ministerial meeting held in Doha WTO members agreed to eliminate export subsidies provided sending a clear political message on agricultural trade reform.

However, Mr Vaile criticised the tendency of some wealthy countries to give special privileges to a small group of rich individuals.

"The massive support levels proposed in the United States Farm Bill will hamper the US from taking the lead on agricultural reform at the WTO agriculture negotiations.

"The US Farm Bill proposes to continue the transfer of 67 per cent of the funds to 10 per cent of the producers, while the smallest and poorest producers receive no support.

"I am also concerned about the efforts of the EU to increase protection through its agenda on the environment and the use of 'geographical indications', such as parmesan cheese and kalamata olives.

"Our colleagues in the WTO wonder why Australians are so passionate about agricultural trade reform? We always have been, and always will be until we get a fair go!

"Australia and the Cairns Group will work closely with other countries with a strong interest in a fair trade in agriculture, which will help our efficient, competitive farmers achieve the better market access they deserve."

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:02:31 EST


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