The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP

Media release

11 May 2004 - MVT31/2004

Vaile Welcomes EU Views on DOHA Negotiation Agenda

Trade Minister Mark Vaile today welcomed a letter from European Union Commissioners Lamy and Fischler to their counterparts in the World Trade Organisation setting out EU views on the Doha round negotiations.

"I welcome this letter as a signal of EU commitment to make progress in the negotiations," Mr Vaile said.

"In setting out views on how progress can be made, we will be better placed to make the most of the important set of meetings that will take place this coming week in Paris, and during my visits to Brussels and Washington."

Mr Vaile heads for Paris tonight for the annual OECD ministerial meeting, related informal ministerial discussions on the Doha negotiations, and meetings with Commissioners Lamy and Fischler which will focus in particular on how best to make progress in the Doha round negotiations.

"I particularly welcome the indication in the EU letter that it is ready to move on elimination of all export subsidies if an acceptable outcome emerges on other elements of the agriculture negotiations," Mr Vaile said.

"A clear commitment to eliminate all export subsidies would be a major improvement for the trading system. This was a strong message sent during the Cairns Group Ministerial Meeting in Costa Rica earlier this year and I am pleased the EU has now accepted this and moved from its earlier proposal to eliminate only a limited list of export subsidies.

"The elimination of export subsidies is an essential requirement in our efforts to improve the multilateral trading system and to assist developing countries maximise the potential benefits of agriculture reform.

"Much work also remains to be done to deliver an acceptable outcome on other parts of the negotiations, in particular an outcome on agricultural market access that would actually result in improved trade flows.

"I am hopeful that we can make some progress over the next few weeks on an agriculture framework and that this will allow us to address those other issues that we need to make part of a mid-year agreement to move the round forward."

Mr Vaile said he looked forward to clarifying the intention and effect of other proposals by the EU to potentially exempt from any trade reform a wide group of developing countries, going well beyond the Least Developed Countries.

"There is a careful balance to be struck here about how best to provide flexibility for developing countries and encourage their participation in negotiations, with the need to better integrate them into the global trading system and achieve the genuine and sustainable economic development this would entail," Mr Vaile said.

Contact: Matthew Doman (Canberra office) 02 6277 7420

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