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Cairns Group Statement

Cairns Group urges EU to think again to avert a crisis

Cairns Group members today have voiced their deep concern at the impasse in the WTO agriculture negotiations following the EU’s reluctance to come forward with a meaningful proposal on agricultural market access. 

Only last week the Cairns Group welcomed the important step taken by the US in setting down a proposal to move negotiations forward on domestic support.  It is now critical that the EU come forward with an offer that delivers on the mandate agreed by all WTO members to substantially improve market access. 

Without this, the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference is at risk, and so too, the future of the multilateral trade reform agenda.  We need to move purposefully towards our goal with only seven weeks remaining until the December Hong Kong Ministerial Conference.

The Cairns Group is determined to preserve the high level of ambition in agriculture agreed at the outset of the Doha Development Round four years ago.  The Group emphasises that any proposal on market access for developed countries would need to deliver substantial improvement consistent with the US and the G20 proposals if there is to be any prospect of moving towards an outcome that meets the mandate.

Those rich countries which maintain high subsidies and restrictive market access barriers have a special responsibility to demonstrate their commitment to implement faithfully all parts of the reform mandate agreed at Doha. 

Developing countries are dependent upon an outcome that provides for them real development and commercial opportunities. Only an ambitious outcome in all pillars will ensure success in the Doha Round in the interests of all Members.  Such an outcome would also improve the ability of developing country farmers to participate in global agricultural trade, increase their incomes and enhance their ability to escape poverty. 

The Cairns Group urges the member states of the EU to reconsider its role in achieving through the Doha Development Agenda real benefits for those most in need.

Last Updated: 24 February 2016

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