Disappointment, but Negotiations on Agriculture Will Proceed
Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile, speaking on behalf of the Cairns Group, expressed regret that the Seattle Ministerial meeting had not agreed to a new round of global trade negotiations with agriculture as its core.
This was a long-awaited opportunity to secure fundamental reform of world agricultural markets. It would have been particularly important for members of the Cairns Group and developing countries generally.
Substantial progress was made in Seattle on developing a detailed agricultural decision, crucial elements of which had widespread support from both developed and developing countries.
Despite not reaching agreement in Seattle, WTO Members are already committed to commence agriculture negotiations and will do so shortly as part of the WTO's Built-in Agenda.
In these negotiations the Cairns Group will continue its efforts to boost the development potential in many developing countries by pushing for substantial opening of export markets for agriculture and value added products and the removal of export subsidies and other trade distorting subsidies. The Cairns Group calls on all WTO Members to use the opportunity of the mandated negotiations to work towards a truly fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system.