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Cairns Group Statement

Informal Heads of Delegation, Geneva

We must very reluctantly agree with the assessment that we have not made sufficient progress to see the achievement of full modalities by the deadline of 30 April.

Of course, this is no small thing.  Our Ministers all agreed to this deadline in Hong Kong and we have failed to meet it.  This puts significant further pressure on our collective efforts to conclude the round.

It is true that we have made some very modest progress in agriculture over recent months.  Some progress has been made through various processes and contributions.

We are dealing with issues of architecture, and clearing technical undergrowth.  But overall progress in agriculture is not sufficient and is patchy, at best.  We are not dealing with the key issues of the level of ambition. 

The Cairns Group would like to emphasise its commitment to the Doha round and to the successful conclusion of negotiations in 2006.

The Group considers that to do this, we will need to make very substantial further progress in the agriculture negotiations to secure the necessary ambition.

The Group would like to express its full support for the proposal from the Chair of the agriculture negotiating group to intensify negotiations.

We agree we must intensify negotiations by moving them to a more structured and continuous basis, beginning this week with the market access issues the Chair has proposed.

This process will allow us to more easily identify and address blockages in the negotiations.

We should aim to move as quickly as possible to a genuine text-based negotiation.

The Cairns Group will participate in this energetically and constructively.

We should not be distracted by criticism of our failure, the need for new deadlines, or attempts to cast blame.  It is actions not words that we need now.  Progress is urgently required.  We must recognise this and act accordingly.  This means making substantive progress as soon as possible and certainly well before the end of July.

Lastly, the Cairns Group would like to reaffirm its view that breaking the current gridlock in the negotiations means movement in agriculture to deepen domestic subsidy cuts and deliver substantial market access improvements.

Last Updated: 24 February 2016

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