Minister in Geneva to chair WTO meetings

Media release

4 October 2012

Trade and Competitiveness Minister Emerson is in Geneva, Switzerland, today to chair a series of meetings aimed at shoring up support for the new pathways approach to multilateral trade reform.

Australia has been leading the push to find ways to break through the Doha Round impasse by focusing on areas where agreement is within reach.

"Trade liberalisation is the only sustainable response to current global economic challenges," Dr Emerson said.

"It is essential, then, that we take new pathways to move ahead with the Doha Round and resist rising protectionist pressures."

In Geneva Dr Emerson will chair meetings with World Trade Organization Ambassadors from a range of member countries and groupings, including the US, EU, India, Brazil and China.

He will also hold separate talks with WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, US WTO Ambassador Michael Punke and World Health Organization Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

Dr Emerson is travelling with Jock Laurie, President of Australia's National Farmers' Federation.

Progress on agricultural trade liberalisation remains a priority for Australia, as well as for many developing countries.

Dr Emerson has constantly stressed the importance of agricultural trade to poverty alleviation and the challenge of food security.

Trade facilitation – the removal of bureaucratic and infrastructural barriers to the movement of goods between countries – is another area where Dr Emerson is seeking agreement to break through the Doha impasse.

"An estimated 44 per cent of the benefits of the Doha Round would emanate from this one initiative, and two-thirds of those benefits would accrue to developing countries," Dr Emerson said.

Dr Emerson will also use the meetings to garner further support for Australia's initiative with the US on freeing up services trade.

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