Global business groups back Australian trade plan

Media release

22 April 2012

Business groups from the G20 countries have backed Australia's plan for new pathways to global trade talks.

At a weekend meeting of Trade Ministers from the G20 countries in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the so-called B20 business organisations called for breaking up the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations into its constituent groups and bringing them to conclusion separately on a priority basis.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson warmly welcomed the presentation to the G20 Ministerial Meeting of the business groups as an endorsement of Australia's plan.

“This key business recommendation is an endorsement of the new pathways approach advocated by Prime Minister Gillard at the G20 meeting held in Cannes late last year,” Dr Emerson said.

“The B20 also endorsed the priority being given to the World Trade Organization negotiations on trade facilitation and the plurilateral negotiations on liberalising trade in services, led by Australia.”

Dr Emerson told the G20 Ministerial Meeting in Puerto Vallarta that the only source of sustainable economic recovery for recession-scarred countries was further trade reform.

“Without further market-opening measures the world's economies will continue to argue about the distribution of a fixed or declining number of jobs,” Dr Emerson told the meeting.

“Far better to be creating more jobs all round by opening up markets,” he said.

Dr Emerson said that for the first time key emerging countries had not insisted on cross-trading across negotiating groups, making the achievement of breakthroughs on trade facilitation a realistic possibility.

“We should be looking to streamline customs and landing procedures in developing countries, reducing the cost of doing business and encouraging more trade,” Dr Emerson said.

Trade facilitation is estimated to provide 44 per cent of the total gains from the Doha Round, with two-thirds of this accruing to developing countries.

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