Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

30 July 2008

Failure of Trade Talks a Huge Disappointment

The Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, said he was deeply disappointed at the failure of WTO Members to secure a breakthrough in the WTO Doha Round in Geneva, Switzerland.

“I am disappointed that, despite the political commitment that was evident here, we were not able to close the deal.

“And I am disappointed that we will have lost valuable opportunities for Australia, and for all countries.

“This is particularly the case for developing countries, who were relying on us to help drive their trade, boost their development and reduce their poverty. Many of my colleagues in the Cairns Group are also particularly disappointed.

“In the end we have not been able to make it this week.

“What has been particularly frustrating is that a deal was clearly well within reach.

“There was only one issue relating to access to developing country markets that caused the deadlock. We couldn’t resolve a safeguards mechanism that captured special circumstances, but didn’t disrupt normal trade.

“This was not for want of trying – but the inability to reach an accommodation has meant we have simply been unable to finalise the outline of this deal.

“So we have decided to pause, take stock, and consider how to move ahead.

“This is by no means the end of the road. It is not the end of the Doha Round.

“But it must give cause for sober reflection. The deal that was shaping up was significant and would have delivered substantial market access gains for Australia.

“And the consequences of not completing the job, when we were so close, are considerable.

“What we must do now is ensure we do not lose the progress we have made or the potential gains that were on offer. We must work promptly to try to put the Round back on track.

“Australia stands committed to doing all it can, because the world needs the Round and because the consequences of failure are too great to contemplate.”

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555