25 September 1998
Cairns Group urges end to export support

MINISTERS from the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting countries urged the European Union and the USA to stop the increasing use of farm export subsidies.

The plea was made in Geneva at the same time as a meeting of the general council of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The meeting is preparing for new global trade talks including agriculture.

The 15 Cairns countries are concerned that the use of export subsidies to combat the weakening of world farm commodity prices could lead to a subsidies war.

Most of the Cairns Group members are developing countries which could not take part in a prolonged battle.

The European Union insists its subsidies are within WTO rules.