Third Force thrash out globalfarm trade issues in Sydney

31 March 1998

‘Third Force’ thrash out global
farm trade issues in Sydney

REPRESENTATIVES of the top farm organisations in the Cairns Group of 15
agricultural exporting countries have been meeting in Australia this week to talk about bringing an end to farm subsidies.

They see themselves as a “third force” between European protectionism and
American free-trade policies.

The meeting highlighted growing private-sector involvement in multilateral
trade issues and Australias international push to place abolition of farm subsidies and other agricultural trade barriers on the World Trade Organisations (WTO) negotiating table next year.

Donald McGauchie, president of the National Farmers Federation of Australia, said the farm leaders were unanimous in their wish to “send a strong message” in
support of further agricultural trade reform.

Cairns Group ministers are due to meet on Thursday to plan a negotiating
strategy for the WTO ministerial meeting in Geneva in May.

Australia wants support for international talks next year on cutting farm
trade barriers and wants the issue of agricultural protectionism included in a
new “millennium round” of multilateral trade negotiations under the WTO.

The WTO has scheduled a new round of negotiations next year ahead of the
expiry in 2000 of its existing reform programme to reduce farm export-subsidies.

The Cairns Group and others have argued the talks should be part of a general
round of multilateral negotiations on trade liberalisation.

  • Financial Times 31/03/98 page 6

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