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The Cairns Group

Cairns Group Statement, Geneva

Statement by the Cairns Group

"This is the moment of truth for the Doha Round" said Cairns Group Ministers meeting in Geneva on 28 June.  "We have within reach the chance to secure major reform of global trade in agriculture and the development objectives of the Doha Round.  The time for brinkmanship is over.

"We have waited too long for those WTO Members primarily responsible for the distortions in world agricultural trade to show us that they are ready to contribute what is required to meet the Doha goals.

"They need to do that now.

"In particular, we urgently need to hear how the EC and others will live up to the mandate for substantial improvements in market access.  We urgently need agreement from the EC and G10 to a level of tariff cuts and to a number and treatment of sensitive products that will create commercially meaningful new market access opportunities.

"The US and the EC must also significantly reduce the amounts they currently spend on trade distorting domestic support.  The Cairns Group calls for agreement to meaningful caps and effective disciplines that would prevent concentration of distorting support by product in the Amber and Blue boxes.

"Only a quality outcome in these areas will deliver real reform to our farmers and allow them to compete in a fairer trading world.  That is the plain meaning of the mandate agreed in Doha four and a half years ago.  The Cairns Group will not accept a deal that falls short of that standard.

"We are convinced that progress on the central aspects of agricultural market access and domestic support this week will allow the Round to move to its finalisation.

"A failure to secure a breakthrough this week would put the Doha Round, and the multilateral trading system, at serious risk. The cost of failure would be greatest for the millions of farmers and people around the world whose livelihoods depend on the reliability and sustainability of the global trading system. 

"The WTO Membership has a collective responsibility to make a success of the Doha Round.  We commit ourselves to using this week's meetings - including in coordination with like-minded groups - to do everything we can to work towards that end."

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