Cairns Group Ministers expressed their deep regret that the Brussels Conference scheduled to conclude the Uruguay Round has failed to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion.
Cairns Group Ministers said that in the agriculture talks last night, they had signalled their readiness to use Chairman Hellstrom's paper as a basis for countries to negotiate reduction commitments in the three key areas of internal support, market access barriers and export subsidies.
Unfortunately the process collapsed because of the unwillingness of some major participants, particularly the European Community, to do likewise. As a result it has not been possible to make progress not only on Agriculture but also in other areas of the Uruguay Round at this Brussels meeting.
Cairns Ministers said that these countries, amongst the wealthiest in the world, now needed to reflect on their stake in, and responsibilities for, the world trading system. Cairns Group countries remain as committed as ever to the successful outcome of the Round, not only on agriculture but also in other areas. However, it is clear that a successful conclusion of the negotiations will require a readiness by all to show increased flexibility and negotiate meaningfully on reduced domestic support, border protection and export subsidies for agriculture. Cairns Ministers concluded that the failure of the Brussels meeting clearly demonstrated that it is impossible to conclude a broad package to improve the global trading system without a satisfactory outcome on agriculture. International trade reform is simply not achievable without reform in agriculture.
The Cairns Group remains committed to achieving the objective, agreed by all governments at the mid-term review, of "progressive substantial reductions in agricultural support and protection" as part of the outcome of the Uruguay Round. The Group will continue to strive to bring the Uruguay Round to a successful conclusion but re-emphasizes that the Round cannot and will not conclude, in whole or in part, without a substantial outcome on agriculture.
7 December 1990
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, Uruguay