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The Cairns Group

About The Cairns Group

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The Coalition

The Cairns Group is a coalition of 19 agricultural exporting countries (members) which account for more than 25 per cent of the world’s agricultural exports, and one observer (Ukraine). Since the Group's establishment in Cairns, Australia, on 25-27 August 1986, its members have continued to push for liberalisation of global trade in agricultural exports. This objective unites the Group across language, cultural and geographic boundaries.  Made up of developed and developing countries from six continents, the Group is committed to achieving free and fair trade in agriculture that provides real and sustainable benefits for the developing world.

Top: 41st Ministerial Meeting 23 January 2020, Davos, Switzerland; bottom L-R: 36th Ministerial Meeting 7-9 September 2011, Saskatoon, Canada; first Ministerial Meeting 25-27 August 1986, Cairns, Australia; 39th Ministerial Meeting 14 December 2015, Nairobi, Kenya.

The Cairns Group is an excellent example of successful coalition building in the trade area.  By acting collectively it has had more influence and impact on the agriculture negotiations than any individual members could have had independently.

Members of the Group are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay and Viet Nam. Ukraine is an observer of the Group.

Cairns Group Vision Statement

The Cairns Group's ambition and broad objectives for the agriculture negotiations were set out in its “Vision Statement”. The Vision Statement outlines the Cairns Group's objectives in each of the three key reform areas within the framework for agricultural trade.  These include deep cuts to all tariffs (including tariff peaks) and removal of tariff escalation, the elimination of all trade-distorting domestic subsidies; the elimination of export subsidies and clear rules to prevent circumvention of export subsidy commitments.

The Vision Statement reaffirmed the Group's support for the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries (including least developed countries and small states remaining an integral part of the next WTO agriculture negotiations). Cairns Group ministers believe that the framework for liberalisation must continue to support the economic development needs, including technical assistance requirements, of developing and small members.


Country Government agency
Argentina Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Comercio Internacional y Culto)
Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 
Brazil Ministry of External Relations(Ministério das Relações Exteriores)
Canada Global Affairs Canada (Affaires mondiales Canada)
Chile General Directorate of International Economic Relations (Subsecretaría de Relaciones Económicas Internacionales)
Colombia Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism (Ministerio de Comercio, Industria y Turismo)
Costa Rica Ministry of Foreign Trade(Ministerio de Comercio Exterior)
Guatemala Ministry of Economy(Ministerio de Economía)
Indonesia Ministry of Trade (Kementerian Perdagangan)
Malaysia Ministry of International Trade and Industry
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Pakistan Ministry of Commerce
Paraguay Ministry of Industry and Trade(Ministerio de Industria y Comercio) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores)
Peru Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Ministerio de Comercio Exterior y Turismo)
Philippines Department of Trade and Industry
South Africa Department of Trade and Industry
Thailand Ministry of Commerce (กระทรวงพาณิชย์)
Uruguay Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores)
Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Bộ Nông nghiệp và Phát triển nông thôn) and Ministry of Industry and Trade (Bộ Công Thương)
Ukraine (observer) Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture (Міністерство розвитку економіки, торгівлі та сільського господарства)




International organisations

EU and US

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